Hammarskjold Service for Peace & Justice at Berkeley Church

This Veteran’s Day (Monday, 11/11) a Berkeley, California church will hold a special service, emphasizing peace, justice and reconciliation, featuring the words of one of the twentieth century’s extraordinary Christian peacemakers, UN Secretary-General Dag Hammasrskjold.

“Markingsmass:  A Liturgy for Peace, Justice and Reconciliation” will be the basis for the 10 AM service at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 3100 Telegraph Avenue, according to Senior Pastor Robert O’Sullivan.

“In view of dire events recently, including an escalation, locally and worldwide, of violence and weaponry, it is most appropriate to reflect on the deeds and words of the Swedish diplomat who combined a vocation as peacemaker with poignant poetic mystical reflections in dialogue with the Bible and the liturgy of the Western church,” said O’Sulllivan, who developed the service based on “Markings”, Hammarskjold’s posthumously published diary.  “The book has been an enormous resource for Christians committed to peace, justice and reconciliation.  Just check out all the Hammarskjold citations on quotation websites.”

Hammarskjold was killed in a plane crash in central Africa in 1961 while on a peace-making trip.  (On September 18, the date of his death, he is commemorated in many Lutheran churches.)  Before being recruited from the Swedish UN delegation to his Secretary General assignment, he had a distinguished career as an academic, economist and head of the Bank of Sweden.  Fluent in four languages, he was also known as a translator of poetry in English to Swedish.

After his death “Markings”, a private diary of poetry and reflection, was published.  It surprised many, for it is largely a record of his personal journal of faith.  The Swedish title conveys the image of “way markings,” or cairns, for hikers.

Veterans’ Day of course was originally known as Armistice Day, commemorating the end of World War I, the war alleged to end all wars.  The congregation thought it a most appropriate day for this liturgy.

The service will include Lutheran hymns from Scandinavian and German traditions.

For more information about BLC, or to view a PDF of “Markingsmass”, see www.bethlehemberkeley.org under “Special Veterans’ Day Service.”


Rev. Robert O'Sullivan


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