Good Friday, From Contemplation to Action

Earlier in the week, Kris posted on her Good Friday experience.   This is the reflection of Ana, a Maryknoll Affiliate, who was with Kris:

As long as I can remember I have spent some part of Good Friday (morning or afternoon) at church praying and meditating on the Passion of Jesus.   This year that setting changed and the meditation and prayers took a more active form.  Church became the gates of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.  I went there with two affiliates from Maryknoll to support the annual Good Friday demonstration against water contamination and nuclear weapons.   My intention when I decided to go was to join the services and to be one more participant.  Instead I ended up with one of those spiritual/religious experiences that are part prayer, blessing and totally unexpected.

We arrived at the gathering site, which was approximately half of a mile from the gate.  The majority of the demonstrators had already arrived.  Shortly the program began with songs, prayers and reflections.  Later small groups began processing towards the gate, stopping for Stations of the Cross along the way.  When we arrived at the gate a group of military police were already lined in front of the gate in full riot  gear – hard hats, shields, batons, etc.  Demonstrators were milling about singing while a small group of musicians played guitars and drums.  We all were invited to form two concentric circles for a dance and song to Mother Earth. 

After the dance my friend Kris asked me if I wanted to join the line-up in front of the gate to face the military police, with the understanding that if we lined-up, more than likely we would be arrested.  I wasn’t sure that that was necessarily what I wanted to do, but I went along anyway.  As I stood there a deep sadness came over me at the realization of the destruction and pain caused by the use of nuclear weapons.   Against my will tears streamed down my face, and at that point I knew this is where I needed to be.  Again Kris asked me: “are you sure you want to do this”.  My reply was:  ‘yes I’m positive’.  The curious thing at that moment was that my will was no longer a factor in the decision to stay.  A force or grace beyond my will had taken over; and although I felt sad, vulnerable and helpless, I was not afraid of what was to come.  As I write this, tears of sadness still come to my eyes. 

Finally, our turn came to get arrested.  We were led to an area inside the gates and each person was hand-cuffed.  As my wrists were encircled by the manacles, I had this sense of not being me, but Jesus that was being arrested and hand-cuffed (Kris shared later that she also felt like Jesus).  Once again I experienced that feeling of grace and lack of fear.  I also understood that all of us there, in a very, very small way, were living through the suffering of Jesus.  Also that Jesus dies and rises every moment of every day through our sufferings and joys.