Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Sacred Meal~ Book Review




The Sacred Meal by Nora Gallagher

Reviewed for Thomas Nelson Publishers




The Sacred Meal is a book written from Nora Gallagher's perception of communion.  In her book she talks about communion being like a journey to a foreign land, and she divides the trip into three parts: the waiting, the receiving, and afterward. Gallagher also devotes chapters in this book to the history of communion and some of the traditions that have sprung up over the years.  She also talks about the controversial subject of eating the body and blood of Christ.

For me, personally this book was a struggle to read.  First of all it was written from the view point of a woman who is a preacher-in-residence at an Episcopal church.  The clash of beliefs, for me began right there.  But, it only grew as I read deeper into the book. For instance on page 29, Gallagher says,

The baggage I carry to the Communion line is...worry, guilt, anxiety and way too many rationalizations.  That large suitcase of anxiety and concern is part of my waiting, part of my preparation for taking Communion. I know by now that I have to just live through it; I have to drag that piece of baggage around until it's no longer useful to me. So part of waiting is packing and repacking that bag, stuffing it with worry and pain.

This is so foreign to me.  Why must she carry that load? Does she feel she must carry it on her own until she receives Communion or does she continue to carry it even after?  I believe that the Lord will carry our burdens at any time.  In fact Psalm 68:19 says,

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.

The time before we take Communion should be spent in prayer, baring our souls to our Savior, asking for forgiveness and a clean heart, and acknowledging His great sacrifice for us. The time in between Communion doesn't mean we have to continue to carry burdens. God wants us to cast all our cares upon Him.  Give them to Him daily, hourly or by the minute whatever it takes.  He will carry them for you.

Chapters 7 and  8, which were titled Magic and Thanksgiving and Myths and Traditions were so far fetched, I just cringed. I can't even begin to wrap my mind around why these were included in this book.

In chapter 9, she talks about a time when she attended a Ramadan celebration.  Gallagher, joined in the prayers to Allah and claims,

It was amazing. It was the most bodily prayer I have ever experienced.  The closest thing I had done to it was yoga...

Yoga, Allah, Muslim prayers?  I cannot find any connection whatsoever to these things with my belief in One God who sent his Son to die on the cross for our sins and thus the remembrance of this through Communion.

There is much more in this book that rankled me, but I will leave it with the few items I mentioned.

This book which was supposed to be on Communion, fell far short of what Communion is really about, therefore, I cannot recommend this book as one others should read. 


  1. Wow! Thanks for saving me the trouble of reading this book! What a shame to have Communion so misrepresented!

  2. Perhaps, the author missed the whole point of why Jesus died on the Cross. Missing Communion seems to be only the tip of the iceberg of what she has missed that God has to offer her.

  3. Jenn , This is a shame! Thanks for sharing. I hope you all are having a great day! Blessings, Faye

  4. Gee, I think many people miss the boat here. Thanks for the honest review...I won't bother reading it.

    You have a fantastic day!!!

  5. Dear me! What a blessing the Lord gave you discernment and a "sound mind" while reading this erroneous material! He does indeed carry all our burdens and we are to come to communion rejoicing for what HE has done for us! It really is ALL about HIM!

    Thanks for taking the time to review and warn Jenn!


  6. yikes! It sure doesn't sound like a peaceful read. I stay so far separated from that line of thinking that it's hard to imagine people weighing themselves down with so much baggage. I hope your next book will better for you!

  7. I agree with everyone elses comments on here. You saved us from reading this book. It seems from what you have written she is confused and does not understand our reasons for Communion or other things as well. Confusing to say the least
    Take care and enjoy your next read


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