Water is truly the essence of life. It is likely from some primordial soup whose primary component was water, that life began on Earth. Our bodies are largely composed of water, and it sustains us in so many ways. And, of course, water flows, finding its way without resisting. And to what effect; consider the Grand Canyon.
Members of the Pacific Life Community, which held its annual retreat over the two days before its recent vigil and action at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, brought water from various places from which they came. On the day of the action they poured all their water offerings into a single glass vase, after which they took conifer boughs whetted with that water and sprinkled each other, and also sprinkled water in the direction of the base and soldiers standing guard while singing "Peace is Flowing Like a River."
After this blessing of the waters, a group of resisters from the Pacific Life Community walked onto the roadway and crossed the blue line onto the base. They kneeled down, and Chris Rooney poured the remaining water onto the roadway, and as he described it, "watched it run towards the earth by the highway."
Here is the poem Chris wrote for this ritual, followed by the personal mantra of one of the other resisters, John Owen.
To that God who’s name is Peace, Love and Justice we pray for healing to fall like rain and wash away the sins of greed and violence, and nourish the flowering of love within all people.
Be like water, seek the lowest places. Water, by resisting nothing, overcomes everything. - John Owen
I am often asked if our resistance to Trident makes a difference. I generally explain that although we hope to someday see the end of Trident and all nuclear weapons, whether or not we "make a difference" is not so important as our choosing to resist. Our knowledge makes us accountable, and we make a moral choice to resist, because to do otherwise would be to become part of that which we resist - weapons so inhumane and genocidal .
In reflecting on the ritual performed by members of the Pacific Life Community at the Trident base, I begin to see our resistance to Trident as much like the action of water. Water occasionally demonstrates its power in dramatic fashion, causing unimaginable changes due to the magnitude of its force. But most often it works slowly, steadily, imperceptibly (as in the example of the Grand Canyon), creating extraordinary effects that we marvel at today.
May we all (in our nonviolent resistance) be as gentle, and yet as strong as water.
Thanks to Chris Rooney for sharing his poem, and to John Owen for sharing his personal mantra. Chris Rooney (and Karl Germyn) publish The Christian Radical blog, a Catholic Worker information and resource service run by the Catholic Worker community of Vancouver Canada.
As for the title of this post, it comes from the 2009 War Resisters League calendar, The Path of Most Resistance: A U.S. Radical History Tour. This calendar will not only help you keep track of your scheduled appointments, protests, actions and vigils, but will also keep you appraised of key historical dates and provide a weekly lesson on the history of American peace and justice. If you still need a 2009 planner (and even if you don't) this one is on sale now at the War Resisters League for only $5.00!!!! You can also get previous years' calendars.
P.S. - Just two more days to sign the Appeal to President Obama for U.S. Leadership for a Nuclear Weapons-Free World, and then it will be delivered to Washington, D.C.