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Book Review: The Sacred Meal by Nora Gallagher

Reading The Sacred Meal by Nora Gallagher was a conflicting experience. Part of “The Ancient Practices Series,” Gallagher investigates Communion and its role in the life of the church today.

On the one hand, I loved her informal tone matched with her obviously deep reverence and passion for the Lord’s Supper as a means of grace. She shares her journey regarding the Lord’s Supper from being this strange ritual to a deeply cherished meal. How I wish that all of the church shared with her that longing for the Supper.

Unfortunately, her theology of the Supper is not equal to her passion for it. Two examples: First, she describes a scenario where someone dropped some wafers and she and the priest immediately fell to their knees eating the wafers as fast as they could. She acknowledges that God wouldn’t have struck them dead if they somehow missed one and it was vacuumed up. That level of mysticism belies a deeper flaw in her sacramental theology. Second, she contends that anyone can come to the table (as opposed to standard practices of fencing the table). As it is, that would be a controversial point, but, let’s see what her argument is. Her argument: If you make a rule that keeps one person away from the table, what will keep you from making more rules. That is both a silly and unhelpful argument.

In short, Gallagher’s passion for the sacred meal is admirable. She could have just used the help of a theological editor or co-author along the way.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> 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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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