Dag Hammarskjöld, Peacemaker 18 September 1961

Dag Hjalmar Agne Carl Hammarskjöld (pronounced HAM-mar-shold) was born in 1905, the son of the Prime Minister of Sweden. He studied law and economics, and taught economics at the University of Stockholm. He became president of the board of the Bank of Sweden, then Minister of State, then head of the Swedish delegation to the United Nations, and then Secretary General of the United Nations. In 1960 the Belgian Congo (now Zaire) became independent, and civil war promptly broke out. Hammarskjöld went in to negotiate a cease-fire, and was killed in a plane crash in Zambia on 18 September 1961.

For years, he had kept a private journal, writing down his thoughts on the Lordship of Christ and its meaning for his life. After his death, the journal was published under the title Markings. Two extracts follow.

God does not die on the day when we cease to believe in a personal deity, but we die on the day when our lives cease to be illumined by the steady radiance, renewed daily, of a wonder, the source of which is beyond all reason.

He who has surrendered himself to it knows that the Way ends on the Cross--even when it is leading through the jubilation of Gennesaret or the triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

written by James Kiefer


Heavenly Father, who have taught us that the peacemakers shall be called the children of God: Grant that, like your servant Dag Hamarskjöld, we may always seek to live at peace with our neighbors, and to reconcile those living in strife and enmity; so that in this way we may follow in the footsteps of your beloved Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.