Reading through the Pentateuch (it just some so Bible geeky to use this term) and especially parts of the Book of Exodus it struck me how all of the Old Testaments liturgical documents are placed here. That not only do you get an Old Testament GIRM, but instructions on Temple architecture and design of interior decorations, plus also much details on liturgical vestments, and much more. I though it was interesting that right after the moral Commandments are given to Moses and the Israelites that immediately after that details on liturgical worship are set out and of course these intimately connected as the phrase Lex orandi, lex credendi is often used to show.
All of this though did make contrast the reaction to the liturgy of past and present. To think about Old Testament liturgical abuses and compare and contrast. The story of the Gold Calf make me think of Rad Trads in that this was a very early form. Those who held that Moses had no right to change the liturgy and they preferred the sacrifice of the Egyptians. Idol worship of course would be a very severe liturgical abuse. I also wondered if they had people like myself and others who talk about liturgical abuses? I can imagine a conversation in my head between two Orthodox Israelites complaining about Temple worship.
Isaac did you see what I saw at Temple today? Well Jephthah if you are referring to that lamb they sacrificed, I sure did. I mean did you see those blemishes on that lamb? Disgraceful! I even talked to the Levite in charge today about it and he told me some mumbo jumbo on how it didn’t matter just as long as he felt a lamb with blemishes was an acceptable sacrifice.
You are right it is disgraceful and this isn’t the first time they did this. One time I waited after the sacrifice to talk to the priest serving that day. I noticed that not only was the lamb not male, but it obviously had a broken leg! When I was growing up you would have never seen such an abuse, but I never know what I will see next in these modern times. I was well prepared with the appropriate documentation and I showed him the specified scriptures from my scrolls on Exodus and Leviticus and he just told me that I was being picky and that his conscience told him it was alright to sacrifice any lamb he wanted and that it doesn’t matter if the lamb is male or female that they are all one to God. He even had the nerve to tell me that Moses was a bit of a misogynist when it came to female sheep and that those instructions were based on this bias. I also wrote a scroll to the High Priest to complain, but I never did get a reply.
Well one thing you can say about the Temple sacrifice is you never saw a High Priest wearing a rainbow colored Ephod. Though in many ways there have always been the same problems. King Saul got into trouble when he decided he could offer a sacrifice on his own. He was starting his own version future church that didn’t require an ordained priesthood. Moses had to deal with plenty of dissidents. Parallel magisteriums have always been around. Consider the case of Korah and his company who set up their own tabernacle, kept court, and had plenty of followers. In my less charitable moods I kind of like the idea of the earth opening up and swallowing up whole bands of dissidents in one fell swoop. Though I see why letting the weeds grow along with the wheat is a much better idea, especially considering the weeds that end up as wheat.
We can also thank much of the New Testament, especially the Letters of St. Paul, to liturgical and theological abuses. The New Testament would have been much thinner if St. Paul didn’t have to write letters to address these problems. People have always been scandalized when it comes to the liturgy considering how important it is. The Church is always in need of reform simply because the same is said of each of its members in spades.