The Sacred Meal
Not for an introduction to communion
This book is part of the Ancient Practices Series which is a set of eight books that explore eight different disciplines of faith. The Author explores the particular topic of Communion through the telling of her story, the examination New Testament stories, and her interactions with the practice itself.
This is the book I was going to chose to review first, but I had caught sight of someone else's review first. They did not like the book, and to be honest if I had read this book 6 months I would not have understood it let alone contemplated liking this book. About 8 weeks ago I went to visit an Episcopal Church from which the writer seems to have come from. When it came time for Communion each row slowly made their way to the front to kneel and accept the wafer and drink wine from a communal cup, the rim of the cup is wiped and offered to the next person in line. When viewed in that context, I understand her book. There are times she gets a bit wordy or perhaps explains too much. One reviewer even questions the Writer's faith, I do not know that I would agree with that idea, but I do think that perhaps there is should have been less focus on her own journey and more on the discipline itself. I realize that these books are not meant to be an all encompassing research on a particular discipline, but rather to explore the topic from the human perspective. And when you add the human element there are times that you may not agree or understand all stories, illustrations or points to be made. I would cautiously recommend this book to someone who would like to see communion from another perspective. This book is not for those who want an introduction to the topic however.
I received this book free from the publisher through a book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
May 19, 2011
A Good Read
Nora Gallagher's "The Sacred Meal" is part of The Ancient Practices Series by Thomas Nelson Publishing. I was excited to receive this book, as Communion is a meaningful part of my faith experience. Going to the table each time and remembering the sacrifice Christ made for me, thinking of how the disciples must have felt when they learned that the last supper would be their last meal together with Christ before he was crucified. Gallagher shares her own personal communion experiences and feelings during communion, but if you are searching for a theological perspective, there isn't much of that. I did enjoy the read and Gallagher makes some good points, but I was hoping for a little bit more.
Gallagher talks about communion as being more than a practice involving only you and God, it is also about the church community coming together as one, recognizing the sacrifice Christ made for all of us. "Holy Communion was a web, a web of people being stitched together. And tomorrow, we would need to be stiched together again." She sees communion as a 3 part practice: waiting, receiving and afterward. In waiting, we usually participate in group or solo prayers of confession. We are thinking of our sins and sinful nature and asking for God's forgiveness. We may also think about forgiving those who have wronged us. Gallagher explains that receiving is not something that many of us are trained to do. We have difficulty receiving something for no reason, something we don't deserve or can't earn. We have been taught to work hard for what we get. "By making our greatest and most important goal the one of productivity, we miss out on the ways that God's gifts of grace come to us by doing nothing." Afterward we sit and reflect on what we have experienced, how God has touched our lives or spoken to us through communion. We may want to talk with others about what God is doing in our lives.
In the United Methodist Church ,we have an Open Table. We invite all who have professed a faith in Christ to join us at the communion table. Gallagher reminds us that Jesus loved an open table. "One of the many radical things Jesus did was to sit down and eat with people who were on the lowest rungs of society." In ancient Jerusalem many religious leaders lived by purity codes. Foods or habits were classified as pure or unpure. People were classified sinners, untouchables, outcasts. Jesus did not live this way. He invited all of us to his table.
I would recommend this book to those interested in reading about Gallagher's communion experiences and reflecting upon your own communion experience.
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze book review bloggers program.
April 4, 2011
Be prepared to be surprised
This is the sixth book in the eight-book Ancient Practices series published by Thomas Nelson.
The author shares several personal experiences surrounding her service of Communion as a Lay Eucharistic Minister. Each story unearths another level of community and connection via celebration of the LordÃ¢ÂÂs Supper.
Ultimately, she concludes that the practice of Holy Communion is an important window into experiencing the Ã¢ÂÂongoing incarnationÃ¢ÂÂ of Jesus Christ.
If you are interested in learning about how you, too, can experience the Incarnation via the sacred meal, then I recommend this book.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in return for my unbiased review.
March 27, 2011
disappointed to say the least
I didn't do enough research about who Nora Gallagher was before offering to review this book through Booksneeze.com. I should have.
I have done some reading about the emergent church, et all. and once I started reading through it realized that this is straight from their "beliefs".
I had a very hard time finishing it and my conscience kept bugging me but I did finish it. I was hoping it would be a book about Communion and the "ancient practice" it was but that wasn't what it was at all. Ms Gallagher's focus was completely on HER feelings, HER experience, what she got out of it and not at all on the One who Communion is about.
I was disappointed at the large amount of social justice, if you have more you are a sinner propaganda.
There was no biblical references to back up her beliefs
I would NOT recommend this book to anyone. The ideas are mystical, unbiblical, and based on personal feelings, not the true meaning of remembrance and celebration of what Jesus has done, not what we've accomplished.
March 9, 2011