The Sacred Meal | Nora Gallagher

I can’t believe it. I just finished reading an entire book on the Lord’s Supper and heard virtually nothing about Jesus’ death. Seriously, think about it:

And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. (Mark 14:22-24 ESV)

The entire point of the original supper was Jesus’ impending death. How do you miss that?

Let me bring a little balance to this review. Nora Gallagher is a gifted writer. Her prose is tight and compelling. In addition, some of the themes she spoke about such as receiving the Eucharist as a gift and the connection between the Lord’s Supper and his mission to the disenfranchised were important. Unfortunately there was too much sloppy theology mixed in. Here are a couple of examples:

  1. “Jesus said, ‘Do this to remember me’ (Luke 22:19 NLT). Many of us think these words, . . . mean that we’re remembering Jesus when we drink of this cup and eat of this bread. Well, of course, we’re remembering Jesus, but that should not be all we’re doing. I don’t think Jesus was interested in everybody just remembering him. What’s the point of that? . . . I think Jesus wanted his disciples and everyone who came after him to remember what they had together. What they made together. What it meant to be together. . . . Do this to remember me. Do this to remember who you were with me. Do this to remember who you are” (23-24). My thoughts: So remembering Jesus is pointless—he obviously wanted us to reinterpret his words to fit 21st century psychology.
  2. “There is another way to think of dying and where we go. Instead, we die in, . . . that is, we reenter the earth, to be part of the earth that gave us our beginning, to become part of all that lives, and moves, and has its being (Acts 17:28). What if the risen Christ does not die out, as in being lifted into the heavens, but rather dies in, that is, dies into the whole of the world” (131)? My thoughts: Okay, at least we’re thinking about Jesus’ death now, but how on earth can you call Jesus’ resurrection from the dead a “die out” as in “being lifted into the heavens”?

I could point to a number of other examples of obvious eisigesis, but I’m pretty sure you get the picture. Beautiful writing and interesting stories cannot redeem this book.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free as a member of Thomas Nelson’s Booksneeze program.

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