1) That's no too far removed from what I was trying to say. There are times when, during fasting, instead of feeling closer to God, access to him seems further away or more difficult.
Ain't that the truth?! lol
Praise God that it is WE who move further from Him, and not He who moves from us!
2) No insult taken. Some of us feel the same: we need a stronger emphasis on the Resurrection of Christ and the victory it wrought.
I think you're losing the greater meaning here. Presbytera Mari touched upon this on another thread. Without the Liturgical calendar, and the cycle of feasts and fasts, I think you are just seeing the Paschal Liturgy in and of itself and not the Lenten struggle that proceeds it. The two are intrixibly intertwined, just as without Christ's crucifixion we do not have His Resurrection.
In my original post I stated that it was Lent that brought me back to Orthodoxy. (I was raised half Orthodox, half Baptist.)
That particular year, both the East and the West celebrated Easter on the same Sunday. (An event that only occurs once every 7 years.) It seemed to me the whole world was in a somber preparation for the feast of feasts. At that time I lived in an area with a high concentration of Orthodox, Catholic, and Lutheran churches. As I would drive by the churches on my way to the Baptist church, I would see the buildings cloaked in royal purple. There was a visible and palpable anticipation for joy that was to come with the Resurrection at these churches. In my humble Baptist church however, there was no anticipation. Instead of contemplating Christ's passion, we were testing power point slides, changing lighting gels, doing sound checks, and watching the Pastor put on make-up in preperation for his sermon. (After all, we can't have a shiny forehead under the lights now, can we?) In the depths of my soul I knew something was wrong. I knew we were supposed to be fasting and praying. I knew I had to leave. Now to be fair, I didn't run from the pews of the Baptist Church back into the arms of the Orthodox Church right away. I studied every denomination and their history before coming home to Orthodoxy.
To go back to my point about the Liturgical Calander, the cycle keeps us in balance. The more I learn about my faith, and the stricter I am about observing the calander, I see how it compliments the cycle of life. Just as the Jews had (have) the feasts and fasts and their own Liturgical cycle that prepared (prepares) them for the coming of Christ in the Old Testament, we have a Liturgical cycle that rejoices in the promise of the New Testament. (I used both past and present verbs not to be dismissive of today's Jews.)
Every service of the Orthodox Church prepares us for every point in the day, every point in the year. While as laymen, we may not rise to Matins, Liturgy, Vespers, and compline, the prayers and services are there for us and create order in our lives.
You had mentioned before that you are awaiting the opportunity to go to a Divine Liturgy at a local parish when the opportunity arises. I would also invite you to attend the Vespers service the night before, and the Divine Liturgy the following day. As we follow the Judaic practice of the Sabbath starting at sunset the evening before, you will see how the prayers and scripture readings from Saturday night prepare us for joy of the service on Sunday morning.
Forgive my ramblings, I hope I've made things a little clearer for you.