Thomas Nelson, 2009
(Ancient Practices Series ed. Phyllis Tickle)
This book is part of the eight book Ancient Practices series under the general editorship of Phyllis Tickle.
The sacred meal in question here has been described in many different ways: communion, breaking of bread, mass, eucharist, Lord's meal, etc. Many doctrinal differences surround it: transubstantiation, who may partake, who may serve it; is it merely a memorial, the real; presence of Christ or something else?
Nora Gallagher writes from a Episcopal standpoint. It is this perspective that shapes her ideas and views about breaking of bread. This is very much a personal perspective. The only time she steps out of her seeming denominational bounds are when she asserts that there should be no rules as to who can take it and who cannot.
She writes very well and the book is full of literary allusions and epigraphs. The strength of the book is its narrative format, but that is also its weakness. There is little historical, cultural or theological reflection on the subject; the only exception is the brief chapter 9, 'A history in brief' - unfortunately the chapter is too brief. I would have liked to have seen this chapter developed more. The book is part of the Ancient Practices - but there is seemingly no link between the 'Sacred' meal that Gallagher describes and the ancient i.e. New Testament practice.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com