People came together yesterday at Occupation Park in Tacoma for an Interfaith Prayer Service. It was a celebration in a real sense – a celebration of our spiritual connection as brothers and sisters who share this place called Earth. Through prayer (from a variety of spiritual traditions) and music we came together in a wonderful spirit of solidarity.
The inclusive gathering brought members of the Puyallup tribe with a Native American blessing, Buddhist, Catholic, United Methodist, Wiccan and Celtic, Episcopal, and we would have had Muslim representation had Amir Abdul Matin not been delayed in Olympia. We even had a prayer for youth by Tess Bentley from the School of the Arts. James Morgan, and Steve and Kristi Nebel led us in a number of songs, including the now famous Ballad of Disarm Now Plowshares – also known as No, Nay Never.
As it was All Souls Day we did a lot of remembering of those who have gone before us. Lynne remembered two of our “dissident sisters” – Sister Jackie Hudson who died earlier this year, and Rachel Corrie. We remembered and honored all those who went before us in the struggle for a peaceful and just world, and prayed for all who do so today.
I read an offering from Susan Crane, one of the Disarm Now Plowshares who is still serving her sentence for the 2009 Plowshares action. It was a prayer, a greeting and a message of hope. I’ve reprinted it here:
On November 2, All Souls Day, we remember those who have died and gone before us. We particularly remember those who have died in war, most of whom are civilians. We remember the people who were working, living, growing food, mothers, fathers, children – and the majority of civilians who die in war are women and children.
The sad fact is that our nation spends more than half of every federal tax dollar on war making, on killing and planning to kill others. Warmaking and killing is our biggest industry and largest employer. Is this not madness?
We know that as individuals we are not allowed, by moral constraint, by law, or by our compassionate hearts, to murder another person. And that same constraint applies to us as a collective group. How can it be any different if a couple of people get together? Or a nation of people get together? Does this wrong suddenly become right?
No, we are taught by our many faiths to forgive, have compassion, act with loving kindness, and love one another. To beat swords into plowshares, to respect life, and to take care of the immigrant.
Thank you for being out here on the streets in occupation. For raising your collective voice for a more
peaceful, nonviolent and caring world. For organizing in direct democracy by general assembly. Through your nonviolent direct action you become the embodiment of hope.
We are concerned about lack of funding for education, health care and human services, and we remember that the lack of funding for human needs is directly related to the amount of money we are spending on warmaking.
And so, today and always, we ask the Great Spirit, the spirit of life, Allah, Yahweh, and all the 99 names of God to be with us, and to help us find ways to walk with each other in peace as brothers and sisters.
Bix has been sleeping down at Occupation Park lately. I suspect the ground there is more comfortable than the sleeping arrangements of many of his prison lodgings over the past year. That being said, Bix will be reporting to the SeaTac Federal Detention Center on November 20th to serve his three-month sentence for the Y-12 resistance action.
Here’s to continuing our work for a just and peaceful world.
P.S. - Click here to see all my photos from Occupy Tacoma on Nov. 2nd.