A Book Review: “The Sacred Meal” by Nora Gallagher
One of the things I look forward to most about going to church each Sunday morning is taking communion (also known as the Eucharist). Having not grown up taking it regularly, it’s something I’ve come to appreciate and savor. So when I received a copy of “The Sacred Meal” by Nora Gallagher, I was thrilled and ready to drink up all sorts of theological insights about this practice.
That isn’t necessarily this book.
Instead, this is a book about a woman and her stories about her faith and how various things--including communion--have impacted the way she relates to God and this world. Beautifully written, Gallagher’s memoir-esque personal anecdotes overshadow what I had expected to be the bulk of the book: a deep exploration of the Scriptural underpinnings and traditions for taking communion.
She does share some interesting Eucharistic insights that I earmarked (including how the tradition got started and what it originally looked like for early Christians). But Gallagher also broadens her view, addressing other areas of faith, such as humility, embracing the poor, or understanding how the divine fits into everyday life. And that’s where the strength of this book lies: In how Gallagher relates her faith--beyond simply taking communion--to the ups and downs of ordinary life.