Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Sacred Meal

In today’s word of digital information and portable media devices perhaps people are too far removed from tangible things like clocks to get the old saying: “even a broken clock is right twice a day.” Well, even a book you disagree with can spur you to thinking.

The Sacred Meal attempts to explore the ancient practice of the Lord’s Supper, as a part of a whole series of books describing traditions from Christian heritage. One may think that this book and the series are for people who would be interested in knowing more about the practices, what they mean and how to practice them. Instead, we are treated to a lengthy series of one person’s free flowing stream of consciousness loosely based on how the Lord’s Supper (and Ramadan, Harlequin Romance novels, and those little altars to Buddha that you see in Chinese restaurants) can help us live better lives. That may be a little unfair. The author’s thoughts are beautifully presented, but in the end one has to wonder in the Lord’s Supper means anything real or is just whatever we make it out to be.

In its forward the book states that the “exact nature and proper understanding of what transpires in the taking of the communion” is a subject of much disagreement and discussion, but that ultimately they make no difference in the fact that believers are remembering Christ’s sacrifice. Sure, but they make a big difference to the person who believes that the elements actually impart salvation. Later in the book, Gallagher compares this practice to some “magic dirt” found in a church in New Mexico. The dirt is not magic, but people believe that it is so it helps them. She even knows it is just trucked in, and yet it is a symbol for her as well. The Lord’s Supper is a symbol as well. It is not real, but if you believe in it, it can affect you.

So, perhaps a broken book can’t be right, truth is either true or it’s not. If you are looking for a book to tell you what to think—or what the Lord’s Supper is—this is not your book. If you want something to engage your thought process… this is probably not your book either.

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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.”


  1. Jason, I too was quite disappointed with The Sacred Meal. After reading the speil on Amazon or Barnes and Noble one would think that this book would offer plenty of historic and Biblical background on The Last Supper and the Communion service, but that simply isn't the case. No mention of Christ's death and resurrection either. So much promise, yet so little substance in my opinion. I like your writing style by the way.


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