I can still recall the words of a longtime family friend who spoke to my father after his first mass in English (the Novus Ordo introduced just after Vatican II). He was quite disappointed. This Irish Catholic patriarch of a very large family was not so sure about the change. For one thing, he was quite disappointed to find out that the Latin hid words that sounded just like the words the Lutherans had been using for four hundred years. For another thing, what had been so familiar to him and his family was now new and strange. For another thing, what had been a constant in his life, connecting him to his now gone ancestors (well, since 1563 or so) was now missing and that connection was itself strained.
If Bill would have lived to the present day, he would find a Roman Catholic Church now returning to the Mass in Extraordinary Form (make it Latin) -- complete with fiddleback chasubles and ad orientum posture (well, the chasubles you will just have to look up but ad orientum means the priest facing the altar instead of behind it). He would have laughed and insisted he knew all the time it would not last.
Some are already speaking of Novus Ordo as if it had died. Change is coming but I think it premature to say that Rome is retreating in mass to the Mass form of the past. Change is coming and maybe some variety (Latin or no) but Novus Ordo is still strong on its 40th birthday.
Some called it Luther Lite -- the outward changes Luther sometimes spoke about (vernacular, posture facing the people, communion under both kinds, etc.) but it is a misnomer. Luther's concerns about the mass were not decorating concerns. His liturgical legacy continues to be discussed but his liturgical focus was theological more than ritual.
Yet we as Lutherans have also been highly impacted by Novus Ordo. Though Luther talked about the celebrant facing the people, it was not until Rome under took it with a venom (I use this word in particular due to the sting its architectural spirit inflicted upon once beautiful and Gothic forms). That was also the start of the now common practice of a table style altar. Look in vain among Lutherans for any real push to adopt Luther's suggestion prior to the Roman change.
The calendar reform was also pivotal for Lutherans and our congregations have now become thoroughly invested in the three year lectionary with its full expression of Old Testament, Epistle, Psalm, and Gospel readings. From this lectionary reform proceeded a springtime of new hymnody to connect the church's song with the pericopes (and hymnwriters such as Brian Wren, Timothy Dudley-Smith, Jaroslav Vajda, Herman Stuempfle, etc.) became well known through this renaissance in hymnody.
The vesture of the priest also changed. It went from very Latin forms through a rebellious phase of tie-dyed excesses now to a point when art and beauty are being rediscovered by those who sew the chasubles, stoles, and copes that vest the clergy. Lutherans also had a rebirth of interest in the church's vesture and chasubles are more common than surplices were when Vatican II began.
Most of all the liturgical renewal movement which was the foundation of the Novus Order also had its impact upon the Lutherans -- somethings good, some bad, but in balance it was a necessary impetus to rediscovering who we were liturgically. Though some point to the excess attention given the four fold action (Dix) or liturgy as the work of the people (without its initiative in the Divine Service), my library is filled with great books on the liturgy that would probably never have been written were it not for the liturgical movement. I started my collection with two little volumes from a Lutheran, Ernst Koenker, Worship in Word and Sacrament and The Liturgical Renaissance in the Roman Catholic Church.
I watched -- no, I participated -- in the introduction and use of the Worship Supplement, ILCW Series, LBW, LW, HS98, and LSB -- none of which would have been published (at least in the form they were) were it not for the liturgical movement and the Novus Ordo.
So this is one Lutheran who can say that Novus Order helped me, helped Lutherans, remember who we were on Sunday morning -- something we had forgotten for a long time. We had become too comfortable as Protestants and not comfortable enough with the evangelical catholic identity of our Confessions as lived out and practiced on Sunday morning.
So Happy Birthday, Novus Ordo! From a Lutheran...