The Sacred Meal by Nora Gallagher

The Sacred Meal by Nora Gallagher is written as part of the Ancient Practices Series. Gallagher approaches this book more so as a spiritual reflection on Communion as opposed to a theological/historical textbook on the Eucharist. For this reason, I was drawn to her personal experience with the sacred meal, as her writing is authentic, refreshing and dynamic.

Although some might argue that Gallagher’s approach to Communion is not theologically or Biblically sound, I would have to disagree. This book explores not only one’s individual experience with Communion but more importantly the communal importance of partaking in Holy Communion as a foundational and key mark of the Church. Controversially, Gallagher believes that ALL are welcome at the Communion table and to get hung up on the rules surrounding this discipline is to miss the point altogether. She writes, “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” (p.90).

Further, I really appreciated Gallagher’s comments on being a unique guest at the feast. She writes about becoming more like herself in God, which can easily be misinterpreted as, ‘more of self, less of God’. However, it is apparent that her aim is not the later, but more so to learn to embrace the unique person that God has created us to be in order that we can be a more authentic version of ourselves for the further enhancement of the Kingdom of God.

In sum, I would recommend this book to those that are looking for a fresh perspective on the vital practice of Holy Communion. I would not say this work is authoritative in terms of having delved into every theological, Biblical, and historical fact about Communion, as the author makes this clear from the beginning. It’s simply an honest account of a woman on a journey of faith – a journey that centers itself on the gift of communion, a gift and a practice that I personally could not live without.

  1. Thanks for this review, Lauren. I will now obtain the book, thereby adding to my Nora Gallagher collection! I love the freshness and honesty of her writing – and the fact that she cuts through the clutter of doctrine and dogma to get to the heart of the matter – a person’s relation to God.

    I have just posted on my WEBLOG an appreciation of her memoir starting in Advent which some of your visitors might like to read – “Things seen and Unseen A year lived in faith”.

    Your site popped up as a related post to mine!

    Good wishes from Scotland

    Anne W

  1. December 29th, 2009

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