The Sacred Meal by Nora Gallagher

Part of the Ancient Practice Series, “The Sacred Meal” looks at practice of the Eucharist (or communion or Lord’s Supper) within the church.  This is a unique series and a unique book.  I have never read another book on communion quite like it.  It is not overly concerned with history (although it brings up some issues I have never heard before), there isn’t a lot of scripture references or heavy theology (although it is quite biblical).  It tells the story of communion primarily through story, mostly memoirs of the author.  The Eucharist is particularly well suited for a theological explanation that is focused on story.  There really are not many scripture references about the Eucharist, so using story to explain the important aspects the Eucharist really can be helpful.

Nora Gallagher covered a few topics that I would not have predicted but were very helpful.  Myth, Magic, Tradition are all aspects that I think that we need to think about when we talk about the Eucharist, but most theologies of the Eucharist do not even touch.

A more common idea, the use of the Eucharist as a basis for social justice was handled particularly well. (This may be new to many Evangelicals but it is quite common in different theological traditions.  I have a friend that is an Ethics Professor that is particularly interested in this aspect of the Eucharist.)  It was not political or divisive but instead seemed to draw me into a deeper image of what the Eucharist (and social justice) should be about.

Overall, this was a very good book.  It was a bit meandering (surprising for a book that was only 138 pages long.)  But it was a quick read and worth the couple hours of time.

This book was provided free for review from Thomas Nelson books.  The book was given away after I finished reviewing it.

Purchase Links: Amazon Kindle Format, Amazon Hardcover, Amazon Paperback

4 Comments

I’ve only read a few books from this series, but hope to read all of them. I’m enjoying them.

…and happy to find another blogger sharing so many book reviews.

I too enjoyed the book and reviewed it myself — http://pastorbobcornwall.blogspot.com/2009/12/sacred-meal-review.html — the reason it might seem a bit meandering is that Nora is a memoirist, and it has that sensibility about it. Thanks for your thoughts.

    The meandering isn’t all bad. There is purpose in it. And I think that her perspective and background in memoir allows her to share in a way that is profound and unique.

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