The Sacred Meal by Nora Gallagher, part of The Ancient Practices Series (Thomas Nelson, 2009) edited by Phyllis Tickle, is a memoir about the author’s experiences of communion. The Sacred Meal is an invitation to join the author in breaking bread and has a surprising Anabaptist ring to it.
When asked by series editor Phyllis Tickle to write this volume on communion, Nora Gallagher did not know that communion was considered a “practice,” but not having been successful at other religious practices, the idea intrigued her. “A practice,” she comes to say, “is not about finding exactly the right set of rules that will make you “good,” but is instead meant to establish a habit of connection to a world that is both tenuous and surprising, outside of time and in it.”
Sacred Meal set me to studying the theological differences between Episcopalian (the tradition from within which Gallagher writes) and Catholic understandings of the Eucharist, something which I had not engaged in prior. What piqued my curiosity was that some of the ideas expressed by Gallagher seemed to resonate with Anabaptist understandings of the Lord’s Supper. (more…)