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The Whole Earth Shall Cry Glory: Iona Prayers

Author: George F MacLeod
Published By: Wild Goose Publications (Glasgow)
Pages: 96
Price: £8.99
ISBN: 978 1 905010 10

Reviewed by David Faulkner.

At theological college, the liberal radicals rammed Iona worship material down the throats of everyone. So this evangelical has needed some years’ distance before coming back to it. These prayers and reflections by the founder of the Iona Community were first published in 1985. They have now been further edited by Ron Ferguson, a former leader of the Community.

In his Introduction, Ferguson describes MacLeod’s approach as one where “The personal becomes political in a vision which pushes the parameters of theological orthodoxy, yet just remains within the credal boundaries”. I think that is mostly, but not entirely, true. At occasional points, orthodoxy gets less of a push and more of a shove. Is it valid to suggest that God dwells within every human being? That seems to say more than the doctrine of the Imago Dei. Likewise, is it right to claim that God only sees with our eyes? I’m not sure even Teresa of Avila went quite that far.

But having said that, these prayers and meditations contain vivid and startling language. And those centred on Christmas and Easter will certainly go on my short-list for use in worship.

However, several of these pieces will need adaptation for modern-day worship. Ferguson has removed archaic historical references, but I would also want to modify the exclusive language and use of ‘Thee’ and ‘Thou.’ Similarly, one has to be careful about the references to the island of Iona itself.

So, a cautious welcome from this reviewer. However, Iona aficionados can buy with confidence.

David Faulkner

Methodist Minister, Chelmsford Circuit

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You are reading Issue 41 of Ministry Today, published in November 2007.

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