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Customer Reviews for Thomas Nelson The Sacred Meal

Thomas Nelson The Sacred Meal

In The Sacred Meal, Nora Gallagher explores the beauty and mystery of the Lord's Supper. Whether exploring the history of Christian Communion, taking us inside the workings of a soup kitchen or sharing times of joy and sadness with friends, Gallagher reminds us what it means to partake of and be part of the body of Christ. The sacred meal that is part of our faith does more than connect us to the holy. It connects us to each other.
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2.5
 out of 
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9 out of 1753%customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for The Sacred Meal
Review 1 for The Sacred Meal
Overall Rating: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Not what I expected

Date:June 8, 2011
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Roger Marks
Location:Drouin Victoria Australia
Age:Over 65
Gender:male
Quality: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Value: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
This book is an account of one woman’s journey through the tradition of the Anglican Communion, or as she calls it, Eucharist. It is the story of her feelings and thoughts that make the experience meaningful for her, most of which has no connection to scripture. More often than not, she uses mundane examples i.e. yoga (???), global capitalism, illegal aliens, provisions to an army etc. to explain what she is talking about.
If one wants to be informed on the biblical truth about this subject, this book is not for you as the scriptures are rarely mentioned and far from being a historical account, it is only an account of the Anglican communion experience which as we know did not begin until the Middle Ages.
The book is divided up into chapters where she investigates the qualities needed prior to taking communion, what was her experience in receiving communion and what she looked for as a result of taking communion.
She then tries to defend or deny the ideas of transubstantiation, magical thinking arising out of taking communion, myths and traditions associated with it and finally some history.
For me the history chapter was the best as I have already done extensive study on this subject, and it encompassed a wider brief in discussing the topic and she moves away from her own emotional responses to taking communion.
In the history chapter Nora the author points out that the New Testament church always conducted this ritual in the context of a communal meal, yet there is no questioning as to why this is not the case today. She just accepts that “things changed” when Constantine made Christianity the state religion but she does admit that the modern day communion may be quite different to the original intention of the New Testament church (which it is).
In the last chapter she admits to loving ritual and liturgy, performed weekly without deviation, which could mean that she is not an impartial observer which prevents her from being objective.
If you are an Anglican and have the idea that there is more to communion than eating a wafer and imbibing a sip of wine, you will probably enjoy the book as the experiences the author sets out which she believes makes it more meaningful or mystical (I am not sure where one ends and the other begins) may help you enjoy some of the things that you do when involved in this ritual, or as she calls it “practice.”
For others it will be a may or may not, depending on how you see the majesty and/or sacredness of the so called meal which Nora puts a lot of emphasis on and one cannot help get the feeling that there is some magical or supernatural outcome if one can only “tune in” to the force behind it.
All in all, definitely not a historical or biblical treatise of the subject, more an autobiography of the emotions and feelings of one person’s involvement in the Anglican Communion in an attempt to give it a life that ultimately might only be a figment of one’s very vivid imagination.
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Review 2 for The Sacred Meal
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Great renewing read

Date:May 14, 2011
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Chaplain Steve
Age:45-54
Gender:male
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
I just finished reading The Sacred Meal by Nora Gallagher and Phyllis Tickle. I picked this book up because I have become very weary of “modern Christianity”. I have found that I am searching for the roots of my faith. I really enjoyed this book. I found the idea that no matter where we find ourselves in our Christian walk. Whether you are a Roman Catholic or you are a Holy Roller Pentecostal. We all share one common thing; we all celebrate the Sacred Meal. It is at this time we all stop and remember what Christ did for us and the promises that he made to us. I also like the fact that Gallagher reminded us that it is at communion God will at times put us face to face with the very people that we don’t want to have contact with, as if God is saying, “I made peace with you through the blood of my son, now you make peace with them at my table.” I also liked the fact that Gallagher did not get bogged down in the theological arguments about the bread and the wine becoming the body and blood of Christ. But she focused on the miracle that happens in us when we allow God to heal and restore use threw the work of the Cross. I would recommend this book to anyone that is looking for a refreshing and thought provoking discussion of Communion.
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Review 3 for The Sacred Meal
Overall Rating: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Disappointing

Date:May 13, 2011
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Jameus
Location:Manitoba, Canada
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Meets Expectations: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
This book is from the Ancient Practices Series, which includes topics such as tithing and fasting, and in this book, Communion. I found it to be, quite frankly, disturbing.
This book, purporting to speak of Christ's resurrection and how we are to remember the sacrifice He made, describes some events that were very unsettling to me, and barely speaks about the fact that Christ rose after He died. There was also very little Bible references, and some of what she said seemed to be even antithetical to Christianity.
Gallagher explains a few Communion experiences she had of feeling nearness to God akin to reaching a higher plane as in Buddhist meditation. She talks of one time when she celebrated Ramadan with some Islamics, and participated in their standing up, falling to their knees, leaning forward, pressing their foreheads to the floor, rising to their knees and then repeating it. She says "It was amazing. It was the most bodily prayer I have ever experienced. The closest thing I had done to it was during yoga." Embracing another religion in such a way and feeling 'fed' after speaks to me of an 'all roads lead to heaven' belief, which clearly goes against the Bible. But besides that, for all this wonder she supposedly experienced then, there is no mention of God or how she felt His presence or drew nearer to Him. It was simply a feel-good experience.
She also states that "at the altar, we are invited into what Jesus called heaven." She seems to imply that the bread and wine we partake of have special powers: "I see nothing wrong in the desire for magic; it's who we are" and that the Communion wafer "points to what has been and what can be but also opens your eyes to what is right now. This will put you in the role of prophet."
Sentences like that left me feeling very disturbed and made me very turned off from the content of this book.
**I received this book free from booksneeze.com in exchange for my honest review.
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Review 4 for The Sacred Meal
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Good For What It Is Intended...

Date:May 11, 2011
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Ryan Collins
Location:Glendale, AZ
Age:25-34
Gender:male
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Gallagher, Nora. The Sacred Meal: The Ancient Practice Series. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2009.
I read this book out of intrigue from the more than mediocre reviews that I was reading. In fact, many of the reviews that I saw were anywhere between 1-3 stars, with many congregating in the 1-2 range. Some of the comments were that it was more about emotion and taking the Sacred Meal than a scriptural treatise. However, I found that these reviews poorly conveyed the purpose behind the book.
First off, Nora Gallagher is not a scholar or theologian, she is a novelist and a brilliant author. To approach this book expecting it to be a theological dissection of the Sacred Meal would be a complete disservice to what Nora Gallagher is trying to accomplish. I read the entire book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Yes, I will concede that Scripture is not heavily quoted, but I did not feel that it had to be. Nora was explaining the benefits of the Sacred Meal in a personal and community-focused spiritual context. Not once did she try to unpack the major theological implications, nor was that her intent in writing the book.
I gave the book four stars because Nora wrote a great book, for what it is. If her purpose was to write a book on the theological meaning of the Sacred Meal, I can see why many would give it one to three stars. However, this was not her intention and it is blatantly obvious in the text, which warrants a four star, maybe even a five. It is brilliantly written with great interaction between writer and reader. There was not one time where I was able to be scatterbrained and not focus on what I was reading. Though she is writing about a very real event and real personal stories and feeling regarding the Sacred Meal, there were times where her words and writing brought you into the stories as if you were reading a great novel. Of course this would only be natural coming from a novelist, and this is one aspect of the book that I greatly admired.
I would definitely recommend this book to friends and family, but not for theological reasons. This is solely a spiritual book with no academic goal.
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Review 5 for The Sacred Meal
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Nice Book but Not what I expected

Date:May 4, 2011
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Lisa K
Location:Jennings,Oklahoma
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
This book is wonderful. Its a devotional for everyday of the year as well as a little reading and a place to write your own. Its uplifting and also makes you search your own self with each reading. I would truly recomment this for everyone and also as a great gift. Thank you so much for the oppertunity to have it.
Lisa K.
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Book Review Blogger 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.”
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Review 6 for The Sacred Meal
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Date:April 29, 2011
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GeekUnorthodox
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
The Sacred Meal is a book about communion in a series about ancient practices. I like how Nora Gallagher reverences communion and yet explains the incarnation of it. The living it out in our daily lives in our humanity. I like how she approaches the sacred and the ordinary. How she lives communion and breaks it down for us by her own experiences. She explains that communion is a web of people being stitched together.
I liked the biblical narratives and thought she did a good job of explaining the greed of Sodom and Gomorrah and how when we become greedy consumers we destroy as Sodom was destroyed. She also talks about "the economy of abundance" in this economy you have to beg bread and meat, yet you always have enough since you are caring for each other. Then we have "the economy of scarcity" in this economy it seems we have more than enough yet it is never enough. I liked how she draws these conclusions and talks of communion as being fed to be able to live in compassion in the Kingdom of Christ and in this way the communion becomes Christ body and blood.
Although strong in biblical narrative I would have liked to see more new testament scripture relating to communion such as Paul talking about taking the cup unworthily, I felt she addresses this in a round about way but she never gets to a conclusion or backs up her statements with what she believes Paul meant. Also although I agree with her statements about taking care of the environment and our natural resources. I felt she was too opinionated in how she stated this. For example she says "global warming is an indisputable fact" and then she has no citation for this statement of fact. I also thought her spiritual moment of prayer putting her head to the floor with other Muslim woman during Ramadan prayer is outside Christian practices. We are to bow down to no other God. Another round about way she goes is about Christ becoming part of everything and she quotes Martin Luther. I do not think this is what he meant in the quote she used but again there was no conclusion and it was difficult to understand what she was trying to explain.
I actually recommend this book based on the strong biblical narrative and that I believe the author is sincere in her belief, just be mindful of some of the round about dance.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com
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Review 7 for The Sacred Meal
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

A Conversational Reflection on Communion

Date:April 21, 2011
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Mari-Anna
Location:Europe
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
During this Holy Week I’ve been reading The Sacred Meal by Nora Gallagher. This is a book in the Ancient Practices series published by Thomas Nelson. The Sacred Meal is about the practice of Holy Communion.
What makes this book special is the writing style of Nora Gallagher. Reading the book feels like sitting at a coffee shop with a good friend and comparing notes on the Lord’s Supper. The book is not a theological reference book but a conversational reflection of what it is to practice your faith in real life, what it is to contemplate on your practice of communion, what it is to bring the gifts of communion into everyday living.
Gallagher writes from the Episcopalian perspective but it’s not exclusive at all. I don’t necessarily agree with every word in the book but it beautifully brings me to reflect on the meaning of communion and the mystery of the sacred meal that Jesus himself initiated. The book emphasizes that unlike every other Christian practice, communion is meant to be done together, as a body of Christ. The book poses questions, stretches your Biblical imagination, and offers plenty to mull on. If you’re looking for a companion for digging deeper what communion could be this book is for you.
*************************************************************************************
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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Review 8 for The Sacred Meal
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Hard to read

Date:April 9, 2011
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TCBHAM
Location:birmingham, al
Age:25-34
Gender:male
Quality: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Value: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
I received the book The Sacred Meal by Nora Gallagher and Phyllis Tickle as part of the BookSneeze blogger review program. Generally, I try to find the positive aspects of any book I read, however, I have to admit I really struggled with this book.
Although the book has a number of personal stories regarding communion, I guess my hope was for more of a Scriptural approach. I found myself having to force myself through the book just to complete it. Usually, I can move through a book fairly easily, but I found reading this book was more of a chore than a joy.
I appreciate the personal sharing throughout the book and perhaps my review is based on my own preconceived notions of what the book would entail. Overall, I'd give the book a 3 on a 5 point scale.
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Review 9 for The Sacred Meal
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Draws in the reader into author's experiences

Date:March 14, 2011
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scanada
Location:Ontario, Canada
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
I chose to review The Sacred Meal because I found my own time of communion to be somewhat lacking. I am glad that I read this book, because I found Ms. Gallagher's insights to be the sort of spiritual food I needed to get back on track with what Communion is, and what it does for us. Ms. Gallagher writes this book as sort of a combination of her experiences with the Eucharist, with some history chunks thrown in. I found it to be informative, enlightening, and a good reminder of why we celebrate communion the way we do.
I really enjoyed reading the chapter about the Soup Kitchen. For me, that was probably the chapter that linked the Eucharist with Jesus the best. At least, it was what spoke the most to me. Reading about her eating with those attending the soup kitchen just drew me back to the Bible where Jesus was eating with sinners. It was an awesome parallel.
Overall, I would give this book 4/5. It’s a good and easy read. Ms. Gallagher’s style of writing draws you in and you can really relate to her experiences of communion. While not an extremely technical piece, her experiences allow the reader to ruminate on communion, and allows the little details to settle into the broken and shut off pieces of your heart. I finished this book feeling refreshed and rejuvenated in my faith – and wanting to take communion!
---------------
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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Review 10 for The Sacred Meal
Overall Rating: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

Nice style - shaky theology

Date:February 12, 2011
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wood
Location:Dallas, TX
Age:25-34
Gender:male
I've been quite excited for The Ancient Practices Series that's been released by Thomas Nelson and was looking forward to reading and interacting with this book. Communion is a beautiful time in the life of the church. Sadly, for many it is prone to become just a rote tradition, losing much of the emphasis of Christ asking His disciples to "remember" Him. With this ebb in the significance of communion, I eagerly anticipated reading this book. I have to say, that anticipation was unfounded. There were certainly some high points in Gallagher's work but for the most part, I was quite disappointed with the way she handled the subject.
It seems that Nora Gallagher truly approaches the Lord's table with a passion and enthusiasm that is exemplary. The way she delights in the eucharist, truly giving thanks (as the word would suggest) is an encouragement and should serve as a model for the church. She delivers this passion in an engaging manner of story-telling, including several very touching moments and an easy, inviting tone that draws the reader into conversation.
Unfortunately once that conversation begins, it seems that her theology on the Lord's Supper lacks development. She relies far more on moving stories than she does on developing a Scriptural approach to communion and its place in the believer's worship of Christ. At times her reverence for the sacred meal seems to elevate the practice of communion to the subject of worship rather than a means of worshipping our Lord. Her desire to see the church identify as a great community in the practice of taking communion (which is a noble ideal) gets stretched to the point of a mystical connection that focuses far too much on us and too little on our Savior.
While there were some good concepts offered and ideals with which the reader should struggle and consider, overall I would not recommend this book. I'm sure there are much better books on the Lord's Supper. If you can't find one, a great place to start would be Luke 22 and 1 Corinthians 11 - just a thought.
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
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Review 11 for The Sacred Meal
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

The "community" of Holy Communion

Date:February 1, 2011
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loopylou
Location:Texas
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
The Sacred Meal moves through the mysteries of Holy Communion. What is it exactly? What are the traditions surrounding Holy Communion? Why do we do it and why is it so important to the life of the church? Does the bread really become the body of Jesus? Does the wine really become the blood of Jesus? Nora Gallagher brings to the forefront the need and hunger in the human soul for connection with God and the desire for each of us to somehow transcend the ordinary and believe in the extraordinary.
Nora Gallagher challenges us to see "community" in taking communion. She draws a beautiful picture of the differences between us and the common thread of a hungry soul that brings us all together at the moment of communion. The rich, the poor, the tired and bedraggled, the lame, the educated and uneducated, the outcast, the elderly and the young . . . we all all bear these same qualities and infirmities in one way or another and together we make up the tapestry of life that parades to the table.
Nora Gallagher approached the theology of Holy Communion from a traditional protestant perspective, but I still felt it had a good balance to satisfy those from an evangelical perspective. What I did not fully appreciate was her willingness to accept other faith traditions, such as the Muslim religion. It felt as though she put each faith, Jewish, Muslim, and Christian on equal ground. Now, granted, it is a small, small part of the things she has to say but it still lessoned her credibility for me just a bit. Nora Gallagher had many, many enlightening and freeing things to share about Holy Communion. Here's one of my favorites: "The language of the altar is old, much older than us. And it's also new, being made by you and the people around you. A world created, maybe long before time, that you step into and change. It is like stepping into a river that contains waters from its source and waters from just up the way." I do recommend this book, but with caution. It may feel too loose in its theology for some.
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 <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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Review 12 for The Sacred Meal
Overall Rating: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Disappointment.

Date:January 10, 2011
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StephanieCherry
Location:Fentress, TX
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Value: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
The Sacred Meal is a book in the sacred practice series put out by Thomas Nelson. It is meant to explain Communion as a practice. I honestly cannot see where it did that much at all. It was like listening to a old woman ramble on and throwing in the occasional comment about communion. I was bored by poor writing. I was shocked by the talk of how the three Abrahamic faiths are so intertwined. It would be hard for a Bible believing Christian not to be put off by her comparing her spiritual experience to that of a woman in a Hindu ashram. There were several pages of her experience in full body prayer with Muslims as though we pray to the same God.
I am not a deeply critical person. I generally get something good out of every book I read. In the hundreds of reviews I have done, I believe I have given a poor report on one. I now add this to that count. I cannot recommend this book. In fact, I ask you not to read it. The intermingling of faiths is confusing and it says very little of the beautiful gift of communion.
This book was provided by Thomas Nelson for review.
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Review 13 for The Sacred Meal
Overall Rating: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Awful

Date:February 17, 2011
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owensdad
Location:Ohio
Age:25-34
Gender:male
Quality: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Value: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
It has been some time since I’ve had to read a book as an assignment. Most books I read are either for enjoyment or to learn something. I just finished a book that was neither enjoyable nor instructive. Despite its brevity at only 115 pages, The Sacred Meal by Norah Gallagher was a test in my resolve to finish a book. Normally, I would have just tossed the book aside, but I was compelled to finish it so I could write this review.
In The Sacred Meal, Gallagher attempts to explain the practice of the Eucharist—or Communion or the Lord’s Supper. She shares about her personal experiences regarding Communion from her first exposure while visiting a Catholic church as a child to her serving as a Lay Eucharist Minister in her Episcopal church. Primarily, she describes Communion as a holy meal that unites people together—ethnicity, social status, economic station, and even religious affiliation notwithstanding—giving us a picture of heaven:
Was Communion, I wondered, what Jesus invented to give us a preview of what the kingdom of heaven could be like? —p. 52
Gallagher depicts Communion as shrouded in mystery, which it may be and the reason I chose to read this book, to learn more about a sacrament I am disappointed not to practice much these days. (My church celebrates communion only a handful of times annually.)
We, too, may have come to Communion with twin desires: to give thanks and to seek a magical solution to a given problem. I see nothing wrong in the desire for magic; it’s who we are. —p. 74
Unfortunately, any book that addresses Communion but says little of the Cross and how Jesus bled and died for our sins is not worth the paper it’s printed on—or e-ink. Gallagher briefly mentions sin, however rightly, saying that it is what separates us from God, but she gives no explanation as to how we’ve been reunited with God. She hardly speaks about Jesus at all. Perhaps her participation, as she describes on page 83, in ecumenical worship services—specifically uniting Jews, Muslims, and Christians—has diminished what should be the resolve of every follower of Jesus, that he is the only avenue to the Father.
The communion table is more than the soup kitchen table Gallagher frequently references. No, it isn’t a community table open to everyone. It is exclusive for believers in Jesus to remember his death on our behalf and celebrate his resurrection. And if we haven’t trusted Jesus as the only way to know God, then eating crumbs and a shot of wine (or juice) is a futile practice.
As is reading The Sacred Meal.
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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Review 14 for The Sacred Meal
Overall Rating: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

Insightful but not knowledgeable

Date:December 26, 2010
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bjr4christ
Location:Chicago, IL
Age:18-24
Gender:male
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Nora Gallaghers new book, “The Sacred Meal” is part of a new series by Thomas Nelson called “The Ancient Practice Series”. The purpose of the book is to go back to the routes of some of our ancient Christian practices and review the deeper meaning and intent in the practices to help us return to the deep roots of the practice. The Sacred Meal is a book written about the sacrament of Communion. Gallagher goes back through her life and carries the reader through a narrative of her experience with communion, starting from her congregation church, her first experience in the Roman Catholic Church, and then ending up as an Anglican Lay Minister who administers the Sacrament of Communion today.
While Nora Gallaghers story is quite remarkable, I was disappointed in the lack of actual information and insight into the Sacred Meal. This is more the story of one womans experience with the Eucharist and her insights. I didn’t feel that this book represented majority of the Evangelical Community in which the publisher is a part of, but rather, assumed that all Evangelicals were somehow well versed on the Anglican style and doctrine on Communion. With that said, Nora Gallaghers insights were helpful and thought provoking, and they caused me to think about what I was doing when I take the sacrament, and I must admit that today, when I took communion at my Evangelical Church, I was more aware of what was going on because of her thoughts.
So, if you want to expand your mind with a new, fresh, and emergent perspective on communion, I highly recommend you read this book. However, if you were looking for a historical, informative, theologically straight, and insightful text about the Sacrament of Communion, this probably isn’t the best book to go to.However, I do commend the author for her writing ability and her insights.
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Review 15 for The Sacred Meal
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

A personal journey with Eucharist

Date:December 16, 2010
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Bill Colburn
Location:Franklin, TN
Age:55-65
Gender:male
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I've been fascinated by the Eucharist since I was a child. Whether Catholic, Episcopal, or practiced variably within a non-denominational setting, this ritual is always full of meaning. I just didn't realize just how much meaning till I read Nora Gallagher's book.
Gallagher has a knack for simultaneously speaking to the heart of both those who find 'the sacred meal' a rather stodgy, relatively tedious aspect of church and to others who cherish it as a much anticipated passage into the divine dimension. She weaves into each chapter a story, which, at first inclines the reader to wonder if she's off on some totally unrelated, yet fascinating tangent. Masterfully she brings it all home having totally illuminated another aspect of the Eucharist.
The eleven chapters of this book openly and honestly explore 'the sacred meal' through her own personal experiences through which the reader is invited to wonder anew about this practice with similar disarm. If you are looking for an in-depth theological and/or historical presentation on communion, this is not the book for you. If you have not enjoyed the celebration of the meal, give this author an opportunity to reframe it for you. I don't think you will be disappointed. If, on the other hand, you love the Eucharist, take a gander at this book to deepen your love for Christ through The Sacred Meal.
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Review 16 for The Sacred Meal
Overall Rating: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Date:January 11, 2011
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Dr JSK
Age:35-44
Gender:male
Quality: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Value: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
The Sacred Meal, written by Nora Gallagher, is a book within the The Ancient Practices Series. Each book within this series centers itself on a specific "Ancient" topic or practice. This book is centered around the practice of communion and its proposed meaning.
Writing has and always will be subjective, or in essence, based on the author's opinions on the given topic or subject. In most cases, this is not found to be a problem, for those who write are entitled to their opinions as much as anyone else. But when someone tackles a subject as obvious and controversial as communion, one must utilize more than just personal opinions.
The Sacred Meal is, in my opinion, a book written more in the author's personal opinion/beliefs than on religious practices or scriptural fact. Communion is described in the author's words on page 35 as, "A web, a web of people who were being stitched together. And tomorrow, we would need to be stitched together again. Over and over. One person to the next."
Although communion is usually taken within a gathering of believers, it is not a stitching together of one person to another. Communion is a believer coming before God, seeking to remember all that He has done for him while gaining the strength to move forward into a new week, a new moment within his life. That, of course, is my opinion and is available to be challenged.
All in all, the book was, shall I say, an interesting read but not recommendable unless, after reading this, curiosity has taken hold of you.
Dr. Jeff Krupinski
I received this ebook free of charge and the opinions I have expressed are my own.
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Review 17 for The Sacred Meal
Overall Rating: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

Not an historic look, but a personal testimony

Date:January 10, 2011
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Doug Hibbard
Location:Almyra, AR
Age:25-34
Gender:male
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Here are my thoughts on this book:
First of all, this work is part of a series of books looking backwards at "ancient practices." While emphasizing the Christian portion of the practices, the series also notes the similar practices in other faiths, notably Judaism and Islam.
Second, Gallagher's point of view is different from mine. Radically different, to be honest with you. I'm going to try as best possible to evaluate the book on its merit without attempting to over-analyze the theology. However, some of the theology has to be dealt with.
Finally, this book is not what I was really expecting. I had hoped for a book detailing the ancient practice of Communion and placing it well within its historical groundings in the Christian faith. Examining, for example, the roots of when the church moved from a weekly meal with Communion into a church service only, onto a once-a-year habit, and then back into the place it holds in various traditions today.
This work does not really delve into that history. In truth, this work is more of a personal testimony of Gallagher's own experiences in pursuit of religion. That being established, the book in perspective shows a person searching for truth, and finding a common thread woven through various churches and their observance of Communion.
What she finds, though, is only an experience, and the theological filters applied to that experience do not leave her with any truth. This can be found in the attempt to link Christian Communion with, of all things, Muslim Ramadan. I find it difficult to understand how the author expects Christians to find a clearer understanding of Communion by examining a religious feast founded nearly 600 years after the founding of the Christian Church, and founded by a religion that is hostile to Christianity.
Likewise, the author downplays the view of non-liturgical groups that the Gospels can be trusted as the appropriate source of information regarding the life of Christ, and also lightly dismisses the idea held by Baptists that the Lord's Supper is a symbolic reminder.
In all, I would not recommend this work in general. While someone using multiple sources to research various views on Communion will want to consider it, this is not one to be used as a single source. Neither would I commend it for a group study.
Disclosure: I received a free e-book from the publisher in exchange for the review.
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Review 18 for The Sacred Meal
Overall Rating: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Date:January 28, 2010
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Marsha Johnson
I finally finished reading The Sacred Meal by Nora Gallagher. I cannot wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who is seeking a better understanding of the celebration of the Lords Supper. The author examines the celebration of Communion from several different angles. She does a very good job of relating the partaking of Communion back to daily living. She is a good story teller, telling many stories from her own life and experience. I kept waiting for her to talk about the foundational truths the Lords Supper was given to remember. But she never did. Instead, she related Communion more to the feeding of the 5,000 than to the last supper (p.78). And she never mentions Jesus words, Do this in remembrance of me (Luke 22:19) Nor does she refer to Pauls words in I Cor. 11:26: For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lords death until He comes. It seemed to me that much of what she had to say was based on her feelings about things and her reasoning about how things might be. I found the book to be too mystical and not Biblically based for me to enjoy it or its message.
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Review 19 for The Sacred Meal
Overall Rating: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Date:January 12, 2010
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Jenn
I was disappointed in this book. I was hoping to get a deep look into the practice of Communion. It seemed so empty and missed the mark completely on what Communion is really about. The remembrance of Christ's great sacrifice for us. To me Nora Gallagher has a misconstrued idea of what Communion is truly about. I can't recommend this book to anyone
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Review 20 for The Sacred Meal
Overall Rating: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Date:December 30, 2009
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Valerie
To start off I would like to say that I chose to read this book through the Thomas Nelson Book Review Blogger program. So a big thanks goes out to Thomas Nelson for allowing me to receive and keep a copy of this book for reviewing. When I chose this book I thought I was going to like it because it was supposed to give you insight into the Sacred Meal which I call Communion, others may call it something else. However as I started reading it the author Nora Gallagher goes on about her experiences of partaking in Communion. I think is great for her to share how she felt and what it meant to her but that was not what I was expecting when I chose to read this book. So needless to say I was very disappointed in this book. It took me a while to read this book because I just could not get into it very much at all but I stuck with it since I had to, to write this review. Overall the book was okay it may mean something to someone else but I just had a hard time with it.
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