In the past decade, we have seen a solid and substantive acceptance of complementary and alternative healing practices. In addition, Christians in diverse denominations have put fresh emphasis on healing practices as integral to their spiritual formation. Much of this arises out of a growing appreciation of the healing ministry of Jesus.

Bruce G. Epperly and his wife Katherine Gould Epperly, both ordained ministers in the United Church of Christ and Disciples of Christ, are convinced that the time is ripe for churches to "reclaim the healthy spiritual embodiment and energetic healing touch that were central to Jesus' ministry." This can be done through reiki — which they claim brings together East and West; body, mind, and spirit; reduces pain; enhances personal well-bring and taps into the universal healing energy that surrounds and permeates us.

Whereas reiki is not exclusively Christian (its origins are in ancient Buddhist healing practices), it challenges believers to see themselves as mediators of the divine energy of love. This husband and wife team are both reiki practitioners, and they believe that this healing touch can be a catalyst to "a priesthood of all healers."

Now more than ever, it is harmful to still cling to the notion that only Western physicians, traditional shamans or complementary health care professionals are capable of bringing healing to others. The flow of the divine energy of love cannot be walled up.

The Epperlys explore the healing ministry of Jesus, the healing liturgies of the church, the life of the founder of reiki, the practice of reiki in the church, and a variety of spiritual practices that enable us to experience the touch of God in the midst of our everyday lives.

Reading this paperback, you will see how this healing touch can be of great help to those who are bedridden, dying or chronically ill.