I was just reflecting on some comments by Photios Jones on Energetic Procession about Tradition and Liturgy with other thoughts about theology based on Liturgy and I wondered why this is so. The following thoughts came to mind.
Christ is our Life. He is the centre of it and all of it. We live in Him and He in us. The Liturgy is the ultimate manifestation of the Life of Christ. It is the Mystery of His life in which we participate and at the pinnacle is the very participation in this life of our whole life, in body and soul. The rest of life a continuation of this Mystery. That is why we feel most alive and natural in the Liturgy because we are living the fullness of our life.
Holy Tradition is the body of faith and practice that manifest the life of Christ. It was taught to Apostles by Christ and transmitted orally and in writing. These teachings provide a rule of life in all its aspects so that we may live the life of Christ in its fullness. Because the Liturgy is the centre of this life the Liturgy is also the centre of Tradition. The Liturgy encompasses the fullness of the Tradition and is its fullest manifestation. Thus to understand the Tradition, to understand the Scripture one must see it in context of the Liturgy. When one interprets Scripture they must do so in context of the Liturgy, which is the life of Christ to which the Scriptures bear witness. When one walks away from the teaching or practice of the Church, it is the Liturgy from which they are excluded, from the centre of the Tradition.
Because the Liturgy is the centre of our life in Christ, its whole way must manifest the life in Christ. It is not merely the breaking of bread but encompasses the whole process, including its setting. Architecture, icons, music and rites as well as words all reflect the life of Christ, they are all Holy and Divine. Although there are exceptions due to circumstance that do not affect the heart of the Liturgy, nevertheless, the wrong architecture, the wrong music, the wrong icons, and especially the wrong rites and words can all distort the full manifestation of the life of Christ. Tradition, although transcending material limits, also incorporates material detail and makes it part of the process. Yes, there is a variety of detail in the Liturgy but there is also a uniformity of detail. Although not bound by detail the Liturgy is not divorced from detail.