I attend a “modern” church with the traditional long, central aisle. At one end (not the east) is the rose window above the wooden table that serves as an altar (ad popularum). At the other end is the Tabernacle in a small chapel with glass doors. Thus the tabernacle is just about as far from the altar as possible, but can be seen from the aisle through the glass doors. Some folks when they enter genuflect toward the bare altar, and bow when they cross from left to right in front of the altar (on their way to give a reading etc.). Before the consecration shouldn’t they bow toward the Tabernacle, and not the bare altar?
When Constantine legalized Christianity in the 4th c., the Church moved from worshipping in homes, caves, and makeshift gathering spaces into larger venues built (or in some cases, adapted) specifically for the worship of God. In times of persecution, the Church went back to worshipping in whatever space was available.
When persecution comes again (as it will) we’ll do the same.
In the meantime, we have the ability -now – to construct buildings specifically for the worship of God. We have a tradition of such structures, built by our forebears, upon which we can draw. From past constructs we can what works, and what doesn’t work.
We don’t need to re-invent the wheel.
There are those for whom “creativity” means starting with a blank slate, ignoring the past, and creating something altogether new. Beauty is irrelevant, what works is cliché, logic is thrown out the window (which usually contains some chips of colored glass in some abstract pattern). It’s a passing trend, but it’s something we have to deal with now.
Two hundred years from now art and architecture students will write theses entitled, “What WERE They Smoking in the 20th – 21st Century?
Reverence should always be shown to Our Lord. He is our Creator and Redeemer. We owe Him EVERYTHING. We genuflect when we pass before the Blessed Sacrament because throwing ourselves prostrate before the Lord of the Universe each and every time we encounter Him would simply be impractical.
Yet, we also have liturgical law. In a spirit of humility, we should obey liturgical law. After all, the Church, which is properly deputized to do so, puts this in place to govern our actions when we worship God.
The current liturgical law in force for the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite requires that the ministers genuflect when entering the sanctuary if the Blessed Sacrament is reserved there. They must also genuflect at the end of the Holy Mass as they leave. If the Blessed Sacrament is not reserved in the sanctuary, the ministers bow to the altar. During the Holy Mass, the ministers are instructed to bow to the altar when they pass it.
Happily we also have now the full use of the Extraordinary Form. It is to be hoped that the Extraordinary Form will exert a powerful “gravitational pull” on the hearts and minds and knees of the faithful, and then upon the rubrics and laws of the Ordinary Form.