Healing Happens: Experiences in the Church's Ministry of Healing
J.B. Snelson is a librarian, bibliographer, and (antiquarian) bookstore
owner in Wolfville.
Most people who read the Bible are familiar with the fact that much of Jesus’s ministry was concerned with healing, of both what we would now call psychosomatic illness and a multitude of clearly physical illnesses. Not only Jesus but his disciples and most of the early saints practiced a ministry of healing. Yet, today the ministry of healing is almost absent from the Church. For many reasons little is said of the possibility of a ministry of healing in today’s seminaries.
One person who has had a most successful ministry of healing within today’s Church is Miriam Dobell within the Anglican Diocese of Toronto. This book is a series of meditations upon the meaning of healing within the ministry of the Church. Perhaps meditation is the wrong word, as there is an emotional tone which rarely suggests the usual view of meditation.
Miriam Dobell is concerned that the ministry of the Church of Jesus not forget that Jesus called upon the Church both to preach and to heal. The book contains many examples of how Jesus can today be a source of spiritual and physical healing as he was and has been throughout the history of the Church.
Yet the book is disquieting. Too often the tone becomes shrill as she implores the reader to give himself to Jesus. There is little to help the minister become comfortable with a ministry of healing and the highly emotional approach of much of the book is likely to repel rather than to attract those who lack an already strong Christian commitment or who find the book in desperation.
In short, an important message hindered by its medium. One feels it could be an important book, but one somehow comes away disappointed.