Daily Devotion for Saturday 29th June 2024

“In your wind, In your light… How small everything else is, how small we are – and blessed in that which alone is great”     

Reading    John 3, 7-8

Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must all be born from above.’ The wind blows wherever it will, and you hear the sound it makes, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”


Dag Hammarskjöld saw us as being like a sail. We cannot control the wind, but we can be used to catch it and be directed along by the wind’s strength and direction.

Similarly with light – we can be shone through, used as a point of concentration of the light, like a lens. The lens is not what is important to see, it serves to gather the light, to let the light work where it needs to. If we just work for our own good, we take away the transparency of the lens.

We do not own our lives. We live them for God. But we must choose how we take that responsibility.

Presumably thinking of his own life and work, Hammarskjöld wrote about stepping out of the self that has been artificially created for him. That self was created by other people. In his working world, as UN Secretary General he was surrounded by awareness of status, deference, and the need to say exactly the required thing at the required time. He wrote of meaningless honours, rules, and duties required by bureaucracy.  He wrote of turning away from all that, and standing “accepted, not able to be wounded, free – in the Light, with the Light, belonging to the Light”.

Hammarskjöld began his jottings that became “Vägmarken” well before he became United Nations General Secretary and the last entry is in August 1961, just less than a month before he died. I think that in a way, his death bore out the life of faith he had been trying to understand and live. He pushed for and achieved a decision by the UN that peace-keeping forces should be sent to the Congo when civil war broke out there in 1960, and he himself sought to mediate between the warring parties. On the way to such an attempt at mediation, the plane he was in crashed, and he died in the crash.


Father, may we try our best to be peace-keepers wherever we can. 
When we see conflict brewing, may we listen carefully to all sides,
never rushing in with our own strong views, 
but instead trying to pick out the good in what each person has to say. 

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