I have come across an incredible website on Eastern Christianity. In a paper published in the Encyclopedia of Monasticism, the author describes perfectly the cornerstone of Christian Mysticism--the dichotomy between the inner "poverty" of spirit of the individual Christian and the outward opulence of the liturgy.
Perhaps no polarity in Eastern Christian spirituality is more striking and more apparently contradictory than that of the hermit's stark poverty and simplicity, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the gorgeous splendor of the late Byzantine liturgy, dripping gold and conducted in the presence of mosaics and murals fabricated with all the expense and subtlety available to a millenial civilization. Yet, neither the hermit nor the episcopal celebrant would at all accept this as a paradox, let alone a contradiction. The former would -- and does -- understand the magnificence of the earthly church's liturgy as a mirror, both of the angels' worship in the heavenly temple before the throne of God, and of the divine presence within the purified heart.The bishop and, perhaps even more so, the devout laity see in their turn the Kingdom of God reflected equally in the glory of the Church's common worship...bright and fragrant already with presence of the world to come.
That, my friends, is the purpose of a liturgical spirituality--to transport us to God. To bring God, in a sense, to us.
The picture above is of the high altar in Saint Alphonsus Church in Baltimore, MD, USA. It gives you a little taste of what liturgy is meant to do. I think we sadly shortchange the glory of God when we turn our altars into kitchen tables and our hymns into praises of ourselves. At least during the season of Easter, we should strive to illustrate the incomprehensible beauty of the Divine Presence.