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Thursday, February 5, 2015

"Holy Communion" by Kenneth M. Loyer. A Review

Holy Communion: Celebrating God with UsHoly Communion: Celebrating God with Us by Kenneth M Loyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This fine, short, readable, 128 page paperback is just what it says it's about; "Holy Communion: Celebrating God with Us". Kenneth M. Loyer, pastor of Otterbein United Methodist Church of Spry, York, Pennsylvania, explains the Eucharist in non-technical terms through four chapters.

Even though the author writes "Holy Communion" from a Methodist perspective, and often refers back to the Methodist Eucharistic liturgy, nevertheless most Christians would benefit from the way he explains the past, present and future aspects of the Lord's Supper. As Loyer explains, "The Lord's Supper is not simply a matter of past and present -- a memorial calling us to remember what Christ has done for us and a means of grace and spiritual sustenance in the present. It also points forward to what is to come. God gives us a foretaste of the heavenly banquet here and now in the sacred meal, and anticipation of God's promises ultimately fulfilled" (69-70).

The author has employed the Lord's Supper in his congregation weekly, normally at the mid-week service. During the years he has done this he feels he has seen internal changes - greater service mindedness - in the congregation, as well as numerical growth. The reason is because as we come to communion, not only do we remember Christ, but we ourselves become "re-membered ( . . . ) Communion makes us whole not simply on an individual level, but communally as well" (47). Though it might be difficult to make such a close cause-and-effect algorithm between the Eucharist and Church growth, yet the point he stresses is at least plausible and encouraging.

Loyer sticks to his aim throughout; "The primary argument of this book has been that a deeper appreciation of the nature and purpose of Holy Communion can provide insights for giving this sacrament a more prominent role, not just in church life, but in the Christian formation of individuals today" (78). "Holy Communion" is clearly meant to help people grow in a renewed appreciation for the sacrament. No matter what your theological tradition may be, snatch up a copy and see for yourself. I think you'll agree.

Thanks to Abingdon Press and Net Galley for the free, temporary e-copy used for this review.

{Feel free to post, publish or print this review. But please, as always, give credit where credit is due. Mike}

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