The Wild Goose big book of liturgies and its later companion Wild Goose big book of worship resources 2 contain an abundance of rich liturgies, meditations and prayers. They were written by the Iona Community and are available in the Roscoe Library, along with a number of other Wild Goose publications.
As well as works of worship covering the expected seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter and Pentecost, there are some interesting gems in the contents of their pages. All are informed by the Iona Community’s commitment to inclusive worship rooted in the Church and scripture – worship that is contextual, with a strong justice and peace focus. The authors have given permission for non-commercial use in both worship and group work without requiring written permission from the publisher.
For example, Church of Scotland minister Norman Shanks contributes a powerful liturgy plunging the depths of a day on which the Church both remembers the dropping on the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima and the Transfiguration of Jesus experienced by his close followers – 6 August (Iona Community 2017, pp.55-61).
As someone who has struggled with how these two seemingly irreconcilable events could be included in the one worship, Shanks provides a space where the “cosmic Golgotha” of Hiroshima and the Feast of the Transfiguration spur us on the ever urgent imperative for peacemaking:
“Living God, whose very being is energy and light and love…we are complicit in the corporate sins of society…we seek forgiveness and pray for grace – that your transfiguring power may touch our lives…that weapons of war may be transformed into instruments of creativity…” (Shanks, Iona Community, 2017, p.59)
The two books contain quite a few resources for Advent (Iona Community, 2017, pp.7-42; Iona Community 2019, pp.193-210). At this time of year, and in our particular global context where so many are struggling to make ends meet, the re-imagining in these resources for our consumer-weary world is very welcome.
In particular I found the ‘Waiting in Darkness: An Advent liturgy’ by David McNeish and Sarah Anderson (Iona Community, 2017, pp 37-42) a great resource for an evening Advent service. The acknowledgement of how difficult it is for some at this time of supposed “joy and happiness” and the prayer that in community there is hope as we wait for Christ’s light are both very hospitable and good news. The Parish of Milton, where I serve , will be using this particular resource for its Sanctus service at the beginning of Advent this year:
“It is dark outside. But we carry into the night the light of Christ. May the light of Christ shine in our midst, keeping away all that would seek to harm, establishing all that God’s love demands, this night and always. Amen.” (Iona Community, 2017, p.42)
For an alternative look at Christmas, and one that both young and old would adore, one could not pass by the contribution of school chaplain Janet Lees , ‘The Gospel According to Sheep: An alternative look at Christmas’ (Iona Community, 2019, pp.215-220). This is a delightful worship tale of the creation of the world from various characters, including the Professor, God and of course…the Sheep. Interspersed with carols, music, silence, artwork, and a dance for sheep, the message of the Gospel is clear and loud. I am still musing on how I might adjust this liturgy for a Christmas Eve service with an Aussie spin – The Gospel According to Koalas/Kangaroos/Wombats? Any other ideas?
Looking for original, contextual and scriptural worship material is often very difficult for worship leaders. These two books are a wonderful resource – I can’t wait to use the ‘A Blessing for a New Car’ or the ‘A Litany of Laughter’ (Iona Community, 2019, pp.153-158 and pp.127-132, respectively).
There are many other resources that I aim to explore and use: meditations and reflections on taking action on homelessness, racial injustice, protecting the climate, shelter, hospitality and love, to name a few.
The Northern Hemisphere geography of the Iona Community means that not all the liturgies/prayers can be transplanted faithfully. I did have to work on Thom M Shuman’s ‘Companions on the Journey’ (Iona Community, 2017, pp.213-220) for St Francis Day as there are not many ‘Clydesdales with hearts bigger than the sky’ in inner-city Milton!
But they are a great resource and I thoroughly recommend them for anyone involved in planning a liturgy, looking for inspiration or even just a single prayer!
Iona Community, 2017, Wild Goose big book of liturgies, Wild Goose Publications, Glasgow, UK.
Iona Community, 2019, Wild Goose big book of worship resources 2, Wild Goose Publications, Glasgow, UK.
Editor’s note: Please contact the Roscoe Library via email for more information on these (and other great) resources.Jump to next article