This was originally published over at Covenant on August 15, 2016 and it continues a discussion about the nature of the eucharist: whether its fundamental ontology is one of sacrifice or meal, and how this might related to the orientation of the the Eucharistic rite and the celebrant therein. This conversation began with Bishop Dan Martins and the current essay is a follow-up to my first response, "Further Facing into the Eucharist: A friendly response to Bishop Martins."
This piece first appeared over at Covenant and is a response to an article by Bishop Dan Martins, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Springfield. The debate is not about whether celebrating the Eucharist facing the people (often called ad orientem because one is facing toward the east, i.e. the direction of the rising sun) or all gathered around the altar (often called versus populum, because the priest is facing [ostensibly] toward the people). The debate is instead about what takes priority in the Eucharist: its nature as a sacrifice or a meal.
I published a follow-up piece to this one at Covenant, "Orientation and eucharistic sacrifice: Continuing a Discussion." It can also be read on this site by clicking here.