A STRIKING PROTESTANT COMMENT ON AD ORIENTEM WORSHIP
On the post below this, from the actual blog I copied the article is this most insightful comment. This Protestant must have read Pope Benedict:
Thanks for this post. I’m a strong proponent of this posture in worship and i completely agree: it speaks decisively about what we are doing and what the prayer leader’s position is among the assembly.
Moreover, it is important to note that this is a cosmic symbol that goes beyond a simple table. The table is fine, but it needs to take its place among God’s creation and as a piece of our ‘turning toward’ Him in prayer and expectation of Jesus’ imminent return. Besides, no matter if people and prayer leader are facing the table together, they are still facing each other and the circle is closed. Jesus turns us out toward the Father and so it is fitting that the circle of prayer open outward toward the Father as well.
As St. Paul said, “it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). So it is that Augustine says that the Christian is another Christ in that he is called to imitate Jesus and be conformed to Him. And in prayer the one who leads us becomes another Christ so that, in and through Jesus, he turns us toward the Father in prayer. This is what the prayer leader does. In the Holy Spirit he focuses our prayer through Christ Jesus and to the Father. So, the symbolism of all facing the same direction (i.e. to the East), is Trinitarian in its foundations.