Paperback, 124 pages
Published August 1st 2005 by Baker Academic
ISBN13: 9780801027680

A Holy Meal

The Lord's Supper in the Life of the Church

by Gordon T. Smith

The Lord’s Supper refuses the rolling pin. It cannot be flattened into something of our own making. In the Lord’s Supper, the Triune God breaks out of the boxes we construct in vain to domesticate Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

That is the message of Gordon Smith’s A Holy Meal. He writes with the conviction that the holy meal instituted by Jesus continues to challenge our assumptions about the Christian life by showing us who God really is and how God comes to us in the acts of breaking the bread and sharing the cup.

A Holy Meal unpacks the many fruitful meanings of the Lord’s Supper, showing why they should be more prominent in the lives of individual believers and in the broader covenant community. The author’s irenic approach allows for ecumenical dialogue and celebration of the varied streams of the Christian tradition and gives attention to actual Christian practice of the Lord’s Supper, showing how different expressions can shed light on theological principles.

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Hunger and thirst for the gift of the Lord’s Supper is an encouraging sign of congregational renewal in many churches. A growing interest in the theology of the Lord’s Supper is a hopeful indication of lively and ecumenical theological conversation. Smith’s book, a pastorally aware and theologically rich statement of the Lord’s Supper, is a valuable contribution to both congregational renewal and theological conversation.

Leanne Van Dyk

Academic dean and professor of Reformed theology, Western Theological Seminary

Smith’s Holy Meal demonstrates the richness of a thorough integration of exegetical, biblical, systematic, and practical theology. In the book, he sensitively leads readers on a journey of revisiting the key biblical texts, theological themes, and ecclesial traditions related to the Lord’s Supper. The exegesis is accurate, the theology is wise, and the implications are transformative for every Christian’s walk of faith. This is a must read for all those searching for the significance of this regular rhythm in the worship of the church.

Mark J. Boda

Professor of Old Testament, McMaster Divinity College

Given that so much of Jesus’ incarnational ministry takes place around meals, we are not surprised that he reconfigures the worship life of God’s people around a holy meal. Indeed, eat and drink are the only verbs of worship explicitly commanded by Jesus. In this thoroughly researched, creatively structured book, Smith sympathetically explores the various Christian understandings of what happens when we eat and drink–not to have us completely change our views but to enrich our own traditions. Be forewarned: As you read what Smith unfolds concerning the practice and mystery of the meal, you will find yourself seeking many more opportunities to meet the risen Savior at his table.

Darrell Johnson

Associate professor of pastoral theology, Regent College

In a manner that is both trenchant and engaging, Smith calls on Christians to reconsider and embrace the holy meal ordained by Christ. Writing both to the contemporary Christian who may be skeptical of rites and to the believer who senses that the Lord’s Supper is central to the Christian walk but does not know why, the author takes readers through Scripture and church history, demonstrating the significance of this corporate action.

Edith M. Humphrey

Associate professor of New Testament studies, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary