Saturday, February 5, 2011

Book Review: The Sacred Meal by Nora Gallagher

The Sacred Meal, by Nora Gallagher is another book in the Ancient Practices series. In this book, Nora Gallagher looks at the ancient practice of taking Communion. She discusses what Jesus' purpose(s) may have been in asking us to "do this in remembrance of Me", as well as discussing what Communion means to her personally. 

I must admit, I was disappointed, to find that the practice of Communion, as discussed in this book, is quite specifically the type of Communion practiced by Catholics and Episcopalians (and perhaps other denominations). I found it difficult to "translate" much of what she said, so that it would also apply to Communion as practiced in our church. Lots of emphasis on standing in line waiting her turn, and her experiences serving people Communion. Which is all fine, but, had I realized that this was the focus of the book, and not a broader look at Communion that can be applied to the various ways various churches choose to keep this command, I probably would have chosen a different book to review.

I did appreciate how she compared the symbolism of Communism and the practical service opportunities she's experienced in helping at a soup kitchen.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the 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 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Anonymous said...

I was about to request this book to review but noticed its low star score and decided to see why. Perhaps I will not request it! Was it hard to get through?

Sweetpeas said...

I actually found it a quick read, because I don't understand exactly how they do Communion in those churches, so I just skimmed through the long discussions of the symbolism of standing in line, etc. It just wasn't relevant to me . . .

So, I read it much more quickly than I did the one on the Sabbath, which I REALLY liked, because I spent alot more time "digesting" what the Sabbath one said, this one, just didn't speak to me, so I could read it quickly and move on, kwim?

I think someone from one of the denominations that does Communion the way she describes, similar to the Catholic way, might find this book very meaningful. I'm SDA, and we do Communion by having the Deacons pass out little glasses of grape juice and crackers, and then everyone "partakes' together, so all the discussion of waiting your turn, and serving each person individually and such, just didn't speak to me.

I was hoping for more of a discussion of the original "Last Supper" (Jewish customs and such) and how it would have looked in the early church, not the symbolism of the Catholic model.

Sweetpeas said...

Part of my dislike of this book might also be because I liked The Sabbath SOO much, and he had done such an awesome job (IMO) of NOT making it denomination or belief specific, avoiding the whole "which day to keep" issue that could be divisive, and focusing on the beauty of celebrating with God. So, the bar had been set high for this series, which made my disappointment greater for this one.