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Customer Reviews for The Sacred Meal
Review 1 for The Sacred Meal
Not for an introduction to communion
Date:May 19, 2011
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.
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.
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 Lord’s Supper.
Ultimately, she concludes that the practice of Holy Communion is an important window into experiencing the “ongoing incarnation” 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.
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Review 4 for The Sacred Meal
disappointed to say the least
Date:March 9, 2011
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.
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Review 5 for The Sacred Meal
Going to the Table
Date:January 31, 2011
The Sacred Meal by Nora Gallagher is part of The Ancient Practices series put together by Phyllis Tickle. It admittedly seems like an odd inclusion to the series; most of the other books deal with practices that aren't done commonly anymore. The Lord's Supper seems fairly widely practiced since it is largely included as a sacrament (after all, there isn't a book in this series on baptism). I think it was included, though, because all too often we take the act of eating the bread and wine for granted.
I don't believe I've read a book entirely about communion (Eucharist, the Lord's Supper, etc.) before. I appreciated Gallagher's look at Eucharist and how participating in the meal affects her daily life. She only lightly touches on some of the denominational differences in the practice of communion and barely touches on the sacred meal through history; I wish she would have touched on those areas a little more. But Gallagher's look at communion is an attempt to unite us around the meal (not using it as a point of division) and remind us of its importance and transforming power in our lives as we literally take Jesus with us into our week ahead.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze 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
Nora Gallagher is a writer who lives in Santa Barbara and she is preacher-in-residence at Trinity Episcopal Church, Santa Barbara, and sits on the advisory board of the Yale Divinity School. Her other books include Changing Light and Practicing Ressurection.
As you could probably surmise from the title, The Sacred Meal is about the Lord’s table or communion. To be honest, I was excited to read this book as Communion is one of my favorite forms of worship in church. It’s a time in the service when you get to take part in the service through action and eating! (what could be more fun that that?) There is just something eternally sacred about staring into a tiny cup of juice and believing it is the representation of Christ’s blood.
Communion is very internal. It’s something that we all do together as a collected body, but I think most would agree it’s not a “shared experience.” Communion is personal, it’s private. If I ever look around at other people, it’s mostly made up of people like me – people staring into their cups, others with eyes closed, some praying, some crying…
So I think from an editor like Phyllis Tickle, I wasn’t expecting a book that discusses the history and grand boredom of all that communion encompasses. As someone who administers communion, rather than is an “expert” at it; Nora Gallagher rather approaches this writing in the only she can and that’s by sharing her experiences and feelings concerning it.
One of my favorite quotes that shows this personal tale is on page 64. “As I served (communion) Sunday after Sunday, I stopped being so terrified, but I often felt I was in the middle of a collision between the divine and the human. As I grew more used to it, I began to step out of the way. Like a pane of glass, I was the translucent medium through which light passed.”
Jesus taught through the art of story, he wasn’t “plain” and direct in his speech and I suppose some could critique Gallagher for trying to teach her readers the same way. Rather than explain communion she dives into a conversation with you and invites you to see the practice though her eyes.
Because let’s face it, Communion is mysterious. On the one hand it’s a stale cracker that sits in a cupboard for a month behind the church stage, coupled with a tiny drop of welches grapejucie. But ask anyone who has shared in this ancient practice and they will tell you… it’s deeply spiritual, it’s wholly wonderful, it’s beautiful, it’s meaningful and it’s available to us all.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants something more than a pastor’s library book or a seminary textbook. I highly recommend this book to anyone who appreciates the art of storytelling and the sacred practice of the shared testimony.
Take and drink
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Review 7 for The Sacred Meal
Date:January 12, 2011
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.”
The Sacred Meal by Nora Gallagher is an essay on the practice of Communion, also called the Eucharist, in the Christian church. This book is one of a series entitled The Ancient Practices. Ms. Gallagher is preacher-in-residence at an Episcopalian church and has acted many times as Lay Eucharist Minister for that denomination. Published by Christian publishing powerhouse Thomas Nelson, The Sacred Meal appeals to the general Christian populace seeking to understand the oft-repeated, rarely comprehended practice of Communion.
Unfortunately, the readers will be disappointed. The Sacred Meal is a hodge-podge of mediocre storytelling and bad doctrine. Scattered throughout the meandering personal anecdotes, liberal and humanistic theology blend with the stories of the gospel and the Christian church. Examples of extensive Hindu meditation are compared favorably to a moving Communion experience. Several times, MS. Gallagher equates Islam with Judaism and Christianity. It would seem, by her writing, that Ms. Gallagher doesn’t believe Jesus when He says, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father but through Me.” Instead there appear to be many ways to the Kingdom of Heaven and, “…it doesn’t matter how you worship or what you say you believe, it matters how you live.” (pg. 119) In the effort to understand Jesus’ humanity, Ms. Gallagher reaches just a little too far, forgetting that Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit are One and that Jesus was always about His Father’s business. He didn’t heal the Canaanite woman’s daughter, as Ms. Gallagher states, because He was suddenly struck by the idea that He could fill her need. He was not “healed…opened…changed” (pg.62) by this encounter. He followed His Father’s orders and the Canaanite woman’s faith in this God, Who was not her ancestral god, is what caused Jesus to heal her daughter. It is dangerous ground to imagine into the gospel accounts that which is not there.
One positive aspect of this book is the push to do something with your faith. The American Christian church has, for far too long, sat on its haunches and enjoyed the blessings of God instead of sharing them. Ms. Gallagher calls for us to put feet to our faith, share the love, grace, and blessing that the Lord has shared with us, and so reap the Kingdom of Heaven.
I would not recommend this book to anyone and, quite frankly, I am disappointed in Thomas Nelson Publishing. One star.
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Review 8 for The Sacred Meal
Date:December 13, 2010
As one who throughly enjoys history and is always blessed partaking in the ordinance of Communion, I was excited to read The Sacred Meal by Nora Gallagher. As a follower of Christ, I turn to Scripture, and the words of Jesus for explanation of the reason and method of this remembrance of His death for our sins found in I Corinthians 11:23-34.
I quickly discovered that Nora Gallagher does not believe as I do. I found a few nuggets of truth, but the Gospel message, Christ’s life, and death were just made…common. I thought it might be best to just quote from this book to explain my opinion.
On the last night of his life, Jesus said, “Do this to remember me” (Luke 22:19 NLT) Many of us think these words, these last Supper words, mean that we’re remembering Jesus when we drink of this cup and eat of this bread. (I sure did.) Well, of course we’re remembering Jesus, but that should not be all we’re doing. I don’t think Jesus was interested in everyone just remembering him. What’s the point of that? That puts Jesus in the category with the various celebrities who will do anything to get into the media so we’ll remember they’re still alive. Instead, I think Jesus wanted his disciples and everyone who came after him to remember what they had together, What they had made together. What it meant to be together. How the things he wanted them to do could not be done alone. How the things he did could not have been done without them. ~ pg. 23-24
Throughout this book, the author weaves The Lord’s Supper, or Communion with feasts of other religions as common forms of fellowship. What Christians call fellowship, as in covered dish suppers, she also likens to Communion. This is contrary to I Corinthians 11:34, where Paul admonished those partaking to eat at home. On page 88, the author states, “Communion is so important to me that I don’t think there should be rules about who can take it and who cannot.”
On page 90, “If you make up a bunch of rules about who gets to take Communion and who doesn’t, then Communion is reduced either to a special club with only certain kinds of people who are allowed in, or magic. “
Throughout this book, the Gospel of Jesus is watered down and void of true repentance. The Lord’s Supper, Communion, a sacred meal, has been reduced to a common meal. I do not recommend that you purchase this book.
it's ironic; one of the most polarizing elements of Christianity is communion, the Eucharist, the sacred meal. communion is meant to be done together and it's meant to bring sisters and brothers in Christ together.
The Sacred Meal by Nora Gallagher is a volume in The Ancient Practices series from Thomas Nelson Publishers.
it's a wonderfully written book. Gallagher writes with a personal and memoir-like style that is easy and enjoyable to read. she explores the history and practice of communion from early Christianity to today. she discusses the significance, spirituality, and theology of communion. she shares personal stories and insights that give us, the readers, another perspective of communion that is real food for thought.
my own tradition, The Salvation Army, does not currently practice communion in the traditional sense. why? it depends who you ask and who you read. i've participated in the sacred meal at ecumenical Good Friday services with other brothers and sisters in Christ from different denominations. i personally believe communion is best expressed at times of ecumenical gatherings.
The Sacred Meal is a great read for Christians of all traditions, expressions, and denominations. it not only explores communion, but community. something we all agree is important.