Fr Hunwicke presents a difficulty with the Office of Readings, which struck me this morning Origen very eloquently sees the High Priestly action of Aaron going into the Tent of Meeting and sprinkling the East of the Mercy Seat on Ark of the Covenant as being a prophetic gesture, because "Your propitiation came from the east. From there came the man whose name is the Dawn, who became the mediator between God and Man." The Leviticus reading on which Origen comments in both the Neo Vulgate, Latin translation and the English version merely says, "the front of the Mercy Seat". Obviously this is a case of modernised liturgy influencing the translation of the sacred text.
The image that Origen presents is incredibly rich; the Mercy Seat, Aaron and the East are all images of Christ, as is the sin offering. The East especially symbolising the Risen Christ, who come to judge from the East. There is a richness in Origen's translation, his offering of a sacrifice in the presence of, and on behalf of Israel. In New Testament terms one can even see a sense of those standing behind Aaron as a Holy Nation, a Royal Priesthood, it just evaporates when "front" replaces "east", as does the relationship of the ministerial Priesthood to the Priesthood "of Believers" in the current normal liturgical practice.
Yesterday's Gospel might have needed less explanation if we all turned to the Light to pray, the East is the great primal-icon of Christ. I love the idea of the faithful turning to the great block of light that would have almost blinded them streaming through eastward facing door of St Peter's.
I have always celebrated Good Friday facing East, now my servers are pressing me to celebrate the rest of the Triduum that way too, maybe I shouldn't have got them to read Spirit of the Liturgy.