Just to clarify, in case yesterday's post confused things,- when I celebrate at the High Altar, I am facing the people. However, since the servers who are close by are typically kneeling a few steps below the altar, and the rest of the congregation is several miles away, it feels very much as if I'm on my own. Parts of this are very precious. I love the moment, after the Eucharistic prayer, when we say the Lord's Prayer. With no responsibility to lead at this point, (if the congregation aren't confident in this of all prayers, then there's very little that I or anone else can do to improve things) and the consecrated host immediately before me on the altar, for the space of that prayer Ifeel myself alone before God, who is unimaginably close.
That has been one of the most unexpected gifts of priesthood,- the way God has re-taught me to pray those words and mean them afresh each time. So, there is always that intimacy...and at the distribution, our intimacy in community is reiterated...but the midweek experience is something very different.