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Book Review: Liturgy for Healing Services
April 14, 2010

iona abbey worship bookThe Iona Abbey Worship Book
By the Iona Community
Published 2003 by Wild Goose Publications

The Iona Abbey Worship Book includes several services for each day of the week reflecting the daily worship schedule at their spiritual center on the Isle of Iona in Scotland. The Tuesday evening service is dedicated to Healing and Wholeness, and this book includes a section dedicated to a liturgy for healing. For the Iona Community, the need for healing is not limited to individuals, sick or not, but also includes healing for society and the world. Their introduction to the Healing Service reads, “The healing of divided communities and nations, and the healing of the earth itself, have their place alongside the healing or broken bodies, hurt minds and wounded hearts, and of the hurts and divisions within ourselves.” Therefore, they include opportunities to pray for many parts of the world that are in need of healing, as well as individuals and friends of the congregation.

The primary liturgy itself is not particularly long, and includes only two written pieces, a Welcome and the prayer for the laying-on-of-hands. This portion of the book does not suggest scripture passages or hymns that might be useful in planning for this Healing Service. However, the Extra Resources for Healing, located immediately after the initial service for healing, may be more helpful in planning intercessory prayer or healing services. This does list potential hymns (although the written music for the hymns is in a separate book, “The Iona Abbey Music Book”) and more prayers that can be adapted to fit a congregation’s needs. The most helpful part of the book may be the brief description of how the Iona Community facilitates the laying-on-of-hands and could be helpful for planning a healing service in a large congregation.

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Rev. Stacy Smith is the Supervisor of Christian Formation in Wellness at the Church Health Center in Memphis, Tenn. and is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA).

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