|Publication Date: 18 Sep 2014|
|Publisher: SPCK Publishing|
|Page Count: 96|
|Author: Tom Wright|
|ISBN-13: 9780281072965, 9780281072972|
The Meal Jesus Gave Us
Nothing is more central to Christian practice than Holy Communion. Yet, curiously enough, little attempt is made to explain it. So many outside the Christian community are just puzzled by it, and many within the church got to Communion from habit but know very little about how it arose or what it means. This is the ideal book for both types of reader. It is written by one of the foremost New Testament Scholars in the World, who has the enviable ability to write with engaging charm. . . Best of all Dr Wright has written a book which will speak to all types of Christians and unite them over a subject that so often proves divisive.
'The Meal Jesus Gave Us' is Tom Wright's short, simple and thoroughly biblical guide to the meaning of Holy Communion.
Introducing the book, Michael Green writes: "Nothing is more central to Christian practice than Holy Communion, yet, curiously enough, little attempt is made to explain it. So many outside the Christian community are puzzled by it and many within the Church go to Communion from habit but know very little about how it arose or what it means. This book is deal for both types of reader."
The book is written in a very simple, readable style. The reader is invited to be 'a fly on the wall' as each short chapter unfolds. It can easily be read at one sitting, though benefits from a rereading time and again.
Wright achieves that rarest of things - making something extremely complicated become simply understood. He traces the roots of the Lord's Supper from the Passover, down through the practice of the early Church, through the Reformation to the present day. Each chapter ends with a couple of questions suitable either for personal reflection or group discussion.
'The Meal Jesus Gave Us' does not claim to be an exhaustive treatise on the subject of Holy Communion. It is a simple yet profound and remarkably thorough explanation of the central act of Christian worship - ideal for complete beginners or for anyone wanting a quick and easy refresher course.
It also has potential for use in Confirmation classes or as part of a midweek study programme.
It is the sort of book that anyone - faithful communicant or curious enquirer - would benefit from having as part of their collection.
Tom Wright has written a short and helpful book on the meaning of Communion with good explanations of the terms and structure of the service. He begins by imaginatively describing the background to how the Jesus meal began. Then he goes on to explore and teach the meaning of Communion and recommend a pattern to be followed. The author explains the understanding of Communion that came from the Reformation, and laments the 'family row' between Protestants and Catholics over theological interpretations. Reconciling differing and deeply held views is always challenging, and I appreciated the author's aspiration for unity through this unique meal. Yet, at the same time, I saw a potential weakness in the book where sometimes strong opinions were revealed on the 'right way' to do things. Wright is at his best in the use of story to draw us in to experience the presence of Jesus; his love, forgiveness and peace. That is what many believers are supremely seeking today: the mystery and ever-present power of Jesus, the bread of life, who strengthens us by his Spirit.