"This is my body," said Jesus at the Last Supper. What did he mean? Throughout church history, there have been various interpretations of his words. These differences have caused denominational ruptures that have yet to heal.
In A Holy Meal, Gordon T. Smith shows that we cannot appreciate the Lord's Supper until we understand it. In light of the renewed attention given to the sacraments by all branches of the church, he examines the historic interpretations and seeks common ground among believers. In the process, he shows how the Lord's Supper can infuse new meaning into the church as it confronts the forces of postmodernism and secularism.
A Holy Meal is essential reading for Christians who want to ponder the Lord's Supper again--perhaps truly for the first time.
Gordon T. Smith (PhD, Loyola School of Theology, Ateneo de Manila University) is president of Ambrose University College and Seminary in Calgary, Alberta. He is also the president of reSource Leadership International and has taught at Regent College, Vancouver. He is the author of a number of works in theology and the spiritual life.
The heart of this edifying book about the Eucharist is seven meditations on
words associated with that Christian rite: remembrance, communion,
forgiveness, covenant, nourishment, anticipation and eucharist (literally,
"thanksgiving"). In these reflections, Smith (Beginning Well; On the Way)
reminds us that symbols and rituals have meaning. The altar, he says, is a
place where Christians have fellowship with God and with one another; at the
altar, believers are drawn into God's forgiveness of sins. Communion reminds
believers of the heavenly feast they can anticipate. If Smith's claims are not
startlingly original, he does provide a concise and useful index of
Eucharistic thinking. Theologically, he casts a broad net, drawing on various
Christian understandings of the Eucharist and showing how different Christian
communities can learn from one another. He defers to a diverse array of
writers and theologians, from fourth-century bishop Cyril of Jerusalem and
16th-century reformer John Calvin to contemporary liberation theologian
Gustavo Gutierrez and feminist literary critic Carolyn Heilbrun. Although the
first two chapters are dry and academic, those who make it to the seven
central chapters will be rewarded with a rich feast indeed. (Aug.) Copyright
2005 Reed Business Information.