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MARKINGSMASS – A Liturgy for Peace, Justice and Reconciliation

Based on excerpts from Dag Hammarskjold’s Markings


Click here to learn more about “Markingsmass:
A Liturgy for Peace, Justice and Reconciliation”

Our work of peace must begin with the private world of each one of us. To build for man a world without fear, we must be without fear. To build a world of justice we must be just. And how can we fight for liberty if we are not free in our own minds? Dag Hammarskjold

PRELUDE: Suggested: Sibelius, “Finlandia” (contains “Be Still, My Soul” melody)

HYMN: Suggested: “Children of the Heavenly Father”

All: The longest journey is the journey inwards.

L: So once again we chose for ourselves – and opened the doors to chaos, the chaos we become whenever God’s hand does not rest upon our heads.
C: Whoever has once been under God’s hand has lost innocence: only we feel the full explosive force of destruction which is released by a moment’s surrender to temptation.
L: But when our attention is directed beyond and above, how strong we are, with the strength of God who is within because we are in God. Strong and free because ourselves no longer exist.
C: Almighty…forgive our doubt, our anger, our pride. By Thy mercy, abase us; by Thy strictness, raise us up.

L: Forgiveness is the answer to a child’s dream of a miracle by which what is broken is made whole again, what is soiled is again made clean. The dream explains why we need to be forgiven, and why we must forgive.

C: In the presence of God, nothing stands between God and us—we are forgiven. But we cannot feel His presence if anything is allowed to stand between ourselves and others. Amen.

L: We come before Thee, Father
C: in righteousness and humility
L: With Thee, Brother.
C: in faith and courage
L: In Thee, Spirit
C: in stillness.

HYMN: Suggested: “Be Still, My Soul”


C: Have mercy upon us. Have mercy upon our efforts, that we, before Thee, in love and in faith, righteousness and humility, may follow Thee, with self-denial, steadfastness and courage, and meet Thee in the silence.

L: Thou takest the pen
C: and the lines dance.
L: Thou takest the flute
C: and the notes shimmer.
L: Thou takest the brush
C: and the colors sing.
L: So all things have meaning and beauty in that space, where Thou art.
C: How then, can we hold back anything from Thee?

Affirmations of faith. (Note: DH never attempted to write a personal creed, per se, but Markings includes many personal statements of faith, “yeses” to God. The following are excerpts which can be used as appropriate. Perhaps they are best read by the worship leader for the reflection of the assembly.)

At some moment I did answer Yes…and from that hour I was certain that existence is meaningful and that, therefore, in self-surrender, had a goal.

As I continued along the Way, I learned, step by step, word by word, that behind every sentence spoken by the hero of the Gospels, stands one man and one man’s experience.

To be free, to be able to stand up and leave everything behind—without looking back. To say Yes—

To say Yes to life is at one and the same time to say Yes to oneself. Yes—even to that element in one which is most unwilling to let itself be transformed from a temptation into a strength.

You dare your Yes—and experience a meaning.
You repeat your Yes—and all things acquire a meaning.
When everything has a meaning, how can you live anything but a Yes?

Yes to God: yes to Fate: yes to yourself. This reality can wound the soul, but has the power to heal her.
For all that has been—Thanks! To all that shall be—Yes!

Thine—for Thy will is my destiny,
Dedicated—for my destiny is to be used and used up according to Thy will.

Through me there flashes this vision of a magnetic field in the soul, created in a timeless present by unknown multitudes, living in holy obedience, whose words and actions are a timeless prayer—“The Communion of Saints”—and—within it—an eternal life.

Suggested: Traditional creed (e.g., Apostles’ or Nicene) according to the heritage of assembly.

Suggested: Isaiah 2:4(b); 11:1-10; 55:8-13; Amos 5:21-24; Micah 6:8; Revelations 21:1-5; 22:1-3; Matthew 5:3-12

HYMN: Words: Robert O’Sullivan; Tune: Wachet Auf

Wake, Awake, Creation’s groaning,
The children of the world are moaning
Give birth, O mother earth at last!
Midnight hears the jubilation
The people of the revelation
Mid songs of peace and love, at last!
The travail and the pain
By joy have lost their reign: Alleluia!
God’s children by the Spir’t revealed
The spheres with freedom’s music pealed.

Wake, Awake, Death’s forces scorning –
All hateful rage mocks Easter’s morning!
Reveal yourselves, ye saints, at last!
Fear and hatred’s days are numbered
Love, justice are now unencumbered
When peace breaks through in human hearts.
Like mighty flowing streams
Revive historic dreams: Alleluia!
Where lambs will mute the lion’s roar
With songs their Maker to adore.

Wake, Awake, the hungry call us.
The sick, imprison’d, as Christ befall us.
With hope, ye saints, go forth at last.
Thirsty, naked and the stranger
Need hope and love against all danger.
You’re called to give yourself at last.
Emboldened by his words,
Make plowshares out of swords; Alleluia!
May nations put to end their rage
And peace endure from age to age.

HYMN: Suggested: “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee”

L: May we be offered to that in the offering which will be offered.
C: God took the form of humanity in the victim who chose to be sacrificed.
L: Denied any outlet, the heat transmitted the coal into diamonds.
C; Beauty, goodness in the wonder’s here and now became suddenly real.


Thou who art over us,
Thou who art one of us,
Thou who art also within us,
May all see Thee in us also.
May we prepare the way for Thee,
May we thank Thee for all that should fall to our lot.
May we also not forget the needs of others.

Keep us in Thy love as Thou wouldst
that all should be kept in ours.
May everything in our beings be directed to Thy glory
and may we never despair.
For we are under Thy hand,
and in Thee is all power and goodness.

Give us a pure heart – that we may see Thee,
A humble heart – that we may hear Thee,
A heart of love – that we may serve Thee,
A heart of faith – that we may abide in Thee. Amen.

L: Our Father
C: Who art in heaven
L: Hallowed be thy name:
C: Not mine
L: Thy Kingdom Come
C: Not mine
L: Thy will be done;
C: Not mine
L: Give us peace with Thee
C: Peace with All
L: Peace with ourselves
C: And free us from all fear
L: Lead us not into temptation
C: But deliver us from evil
L: Let all that is in us serve Thee.
C: And thus free us from all fear.


L: Peace—as when long bitterness has been dissolved by tears.
C: Beneath the hush a whisper from long ago promising peace of mind and a burden shared.
L: No Peace which is not peace for all
C: No rest until all has been fulfilled
L: From injustice – never justice
C: From justice – never injustice

SUGGESTED MUSIC: J.S. Bach, Sheep May Safely Graze

You wake from dreams of doom and—for a moment—you know: beyond all the noise and the gestures, the only real thing, love’s calm unwavering flame in the half-light of an early dawn.

In a dream I walked with God through the deep places of creation; past walls that receded and gates that opened, through hall after hall of silence, darkness and refreshment—the dwelling place of souls acquainted with light and warmth—until, around me, was an infinity into which all flowed together and lived anew, like the rings made by raindrops falling upon wide expanses of calm dark waters.

Suggested: Communion/Eucharistic celebration according to the tradition of assembly.

L: [Be filled] with the love of Him who knows all, with the patience of Him whose now is eternal, with the righteousness of Him who has never failed, with the humility of Him who has suffered all the possibilities of betrayal. Amen.

L: In our era the road to holiness necessarily passes through the world of action.
C: So shall the world be created each morning anew. Forgiven in Thee, by Thee.
ALL: Lord—Thine the day—And I the day’s!

HYMN: Suggested: “How Great Thou Art”


“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.” Markings

Click here to learn more about “Markingsmass: a Liturgy for Peace, Justice and Reconciliation”

This sermon is copyrighted information and cannot be used without permission of the current copyright holder. Robert O’Sullivan recently retired as pastor of Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Berkeley CA He can be contacted at

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