Religious healing worship services within a contemporary revival movement in Sweden, the Oas movement

The Swedish Oas Movement, which considers itself to be part of the worldwide charismatic movement, was started in 1984. Some new liturgical rituals have arisen suddenly and spontaneously, but their roots are planted in biblical examples. This study refers firstly to occurrences in the Oas Movement. And secondly to the argumentation or discourse (questions of the ideal) within the Oas Movement. Which factors may explain when healing is to be renewed or rediscovered? I plan to give glimpses from this ongoing project. Sources for this study consist of the newsletter Oasblad with four volumes every year. I have been an observer with photographing at large summer meetings between 2011 and 2015 and have also interviewed leading persons in the Oas Movement as the clergyman Åke Danielsson and the pediatrician Anna Aronsson. At a summer meeting in 2003, Åke Danielsson felt encouraged to start healing worship services. He had had a vision about curing invalids by letting shadows fall over them which is described in Acts 5:15. This is a way to use history and the belief in the leadership of the Holy Spirit to inspire the activities of the present. In 2000 the Anglican bishop Graham Dow was invited to a Swedish Oas meeting. He told of the healing rites he based on Jesus’ command. All baptised believers can begin to offer up prayers for the sick. This is an example of how influences come  from countries outside Sweden.

At healing services, caring groups consisting of three persons lead the healing intercessions. These three are a clergyman, a layman and a doctor. The clergyman diagnoses spiritually and the doctor diagnoses physically and psychically. The third person prays continually for the one seeking to be cured. At the summer meeting in 2015 thirteen different caring groups were active and 346 people had applied ahead of time for intercession. Three daily healing worship services were held. Prayers for healing are seen as being complementary to and not as substitutes for medical treatment. This is guaranteed by the presence of a doctor in the caring group. “Prayer cloths” are also available for use by sick persons who cannot come to Oas Meetings. The caring groups pray for healing over these cloths and coat them with oil. Relatives then take the cloths home with them and place them on the invalid. The biblical example is Acts 19:11-12. Even though the Oas leadership has emphasised that it is impossible to know or to promise anything about the effects of healing prayers, personal testimonies from people who claim to have been healed has been printed in the Oasblad. A woman named Birgitta had had a painful knee for many years but “later that evening I was able to bend and twist that knee in a way that had not been possible for many years. The pain had disappeared!”