Easter and lilies seem to go hand in hand, so as we’re heading on our final approach to Easter, we might want see some lilies in our live streaming service, I just can’t get that old Gospel chorus line out of my head that goes: “He’s the lily of the valley, the bright and morning star.” Some of you may also know and appreciate that old Gospel favorite, and be surprised to realize it’s not really any kind of Bible verse. Lilies and other flowers are prominent biblical themes, but the idea of Jesus as “the lily of the valley,” as a direct connection with Easter comes from somewhere else.
“I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valley, a lily among the brambles” is certainly a Biblical text, but it comes from The Song of Solomon, with much more of a romantic than a spiritual tone. Some Bible commentators over the millennia have seen the love described in the Song of Solomon as an illustration of the love of Christ for the Church—“the Bride of Christ,” which is probably where the connection has come from.
Connections have been drawn between Jesus and lilies as well—the fruitfulness of lilies, which, like Jesus’ illustration of the vine and branches shows how we grow and reproduce while we stay in the vine, and the sweet savour of the lily fragrance, reflecting the sweetness of Jesus’ sacrifice for us. So I’m sorry I don’t have a more solid lily scripture connection to share, but that doesn’t reduce the power Easter Lilies bring as an icon of the new life Easter brings.
Please visit our site daily for and CLICK HERE for our Holy Week Bible Study. Look for SAFE ways to share and be a blessing this Holy Week so you can keep being a blessing! Reverend Jim
Are you familiar with the PLOM syndrome? It’s where for various reasons, Bad Things happen, people shift focus on “Poor Little Ol’ Me” (that’s “PLOM”), the Bad Things become the only reality the person can see, and things go from bad to worse. It’s often a very individual thing, where a person faces a series of failures or losses, until that’s all they can see, and their collection of Poor Little Ol’ Me scripts keep playing in the head. The isolation of the current crisis is the perfect breeding ground for the PLOM syndrome on a massive scale.
This crisis coming on the doorsteps of Easter makes me all the more glad that the Powers That Be recognize that religious activity is just as much of a social essential as groceries, pharmacies and medical care, because the practice of faith is the practice of active hope, and the practice of active hope is probably the best treatment for PLOM. Maybe I’m just making up this phrase of the “practice of active hope” to concisely describe what we churchy folk do, but it fits well.
“Practice” implies continual effort—not just an occasional thing, not something we wait till we’re perfect for, but doing it again and again while we are, in Methodist words, “moving on to perfection.” “Active” means it’s something we DO, and do NOW, not just sitting back and expecting “faith” or “hope” to happen like a sunrise, without any effort. “Hope” is that light at the end of the tunnel, that recognition with the ancient wisdom that “this, too, shall pass,” that holding onto the trust when though things can be bad now, new life is coming. I heard a great preacher focused on this theme with Good Friday in Easter in mind, who kept coming back to the refrain, “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming!”
So what can we DO to “practice active hope”? My son was on the swim team, my daughter on the hockey team in high school. Both entailed early morning practice—whether you feel like it or not—get up, go in and practice (and dad get up too to drive them in…). Likewise, whether we feel like it or not, get up to “practice” this active hope—do the things that flesh out the connection with God and with others, even when we can’t get together. And this is not just for adults, but kids too, as kids are also having their worlds turned upside down.
Kids and Easter make me think of Easter Egg hunts. I’ve been really struggling with how we might do one this year, as they’re a great, easy way for churchy type people to take hope and the church outside the walls. I think I had a visit from the Holy Spirit recently with a little inspiration on how we might put together a REVERSE Easter Egg Hunt—and this is one that families can do themselves, or that churches can organize to make it even better. Here are some thoughts:
Families still have to go out a bit for groceries and other necessities. People still have dogs to walk, and on the nicer days, I’ve been seeing more families out taking walks together than in a very long time. Might we be able to turn these kinds of outings into blessings of active hope through a kind of REVERSE Easter Egg Hunt? Perhaps “hunt” for ways to sneak a little Easter hope into others’ lives, that might be more about sharing the Good News of Easter, and might better reflect our memory verse: “Don’t do anything only to get ahead. Don’t do it because you are proud. Instead, be humble. Value others more than yourselves.” (Phil. 2: 3)
Read on for some thought, both for ourselves, and that may be worth sharing with other churches!
Either with kids or not, when going to the store, when walking the dog or walking in the park, bring your Easter Basket and “hunt” for ways to share through this REVERSE EASTER EGG HUNT!
To plastic eggs, tape a YARN loop big enough to loop onto any car door mirror (or home door handles). Remember to have your teams work with clean hands!Attach a (decorated!) small note to yarn loop, saying something like—
A Touch from Heaven, even when people can’t touch!
To remind you of our Easter Hope—that New Life WILL come!
(remove with key or stick)
This Egg is as EMPTY as Jesus’ Tomb—even death can’t win!