Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Sacred Meal by Nora Gallagher

The Sacred Meal by Nora Gallagher is a personal reflection of Communion. Part of The Ancient Practices Series, which examines seven ancient practices of the Christian faith, The Sacred Meal examines how central communion is to both the church as a whole, as well as the spiritual journey of the individual believer. Though each tradition handles Communion differently, and even calls it different things - Communion, the Eucharist, the Lord's Supper - it is one of the most ancient and central sacraments of the church.

The Sacred Meal evoked conflicting emotions within me. On one hand, as one who comes from a tradition that does the Lord's Supper infrequently, it was both encouraging and convicting to read the journey of someone who takes the Eucharist as seriously, and who has woven the practice so deeply into one's personal spiritual life as Gallagher has. The weight of the practice, and the fact that it is a practice in her life and not just a "once every quarter" event resonates within me.

At the same time, some of the theological leaps Gallagher makes were a bit hard to swallow. Its safe to say that her personal theology is much more open than, and to the left of, what is considered a biblical worldview. It was hard to tell whether Gallagher believes in the divinity of Christ, or merely reveres him as someone somewhere between God and a great teacher. Seeing as how Communion is so closely tied to who Christ is and His sacrifice on the cross, it was hard to reconcile her beliefs about Christ, and the weight with which she approaches the Eucharist.

While it would have probably been beneficial to have a bit more history and concrete examples of the various beliefs about and practices of Communion throughout the Church, Gallagher's personal story is good for all to hear, if for nothing more than a jumping off point for a conversation about Communion - which would be beneficial for all. Anyone who is interested in the Lord's Supper, or anyone who would like to expand the conversation about it, should read this book.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255