Resurrection Lilies . . . and Life
At our Centerville house, where we lived for fifteen years, we were blessed with resurrection lilies in the front yard. These lilies, which some call surprise lilies, come up in this way: In the spring the leaves come up much as do the leaves of irises, straight out of the ground. They flourish for a few weeks and then they begin to die, turning brown and ugly--shriveling up. Then after a couple of more weeks, at a time when you have just about forgotten where they were, the stems with the flower buds shoot up almost overnight, like a resurrection. I like that name rather than surprise lilies because I like resurrections better than I like surprises. In Tennessee Easter is usually past by the time these lilies come up, nevertheless it's close enough for the symbolism.
In Human Terms
In the lives of people, especially in the Christian life, we think in terms of dying and rising, death and resurrection. That is, either we think in those terms or we try very hard to keep from thinking about them. But in the life of a person it is hard to see it easily as in the life of a lily. We are always thinking: am I dead yet? Or, when will I be fully dead so I can begin to come back to life? Or, if I'm not dead yet, then what is this death-like feeling I have about myself?
It is true that there are little resurrections: victories, joyfullnesses, reunions and such that make us feel very much alive and resurrected. But usually we have to admit that the cycles are quite ambiguous. Maybe we are looking on the wrong level for the signs of death and resurection, surrender and victory. Maybe we should be looking at a level of functioning in which every day, every hour, every moment is death and resurrection at one and the same time--paradoxically simultaneous. Every day is eternal. Every hour is connected to an eternal original. Every moment is connected in a spiritually organic way to the death of Christ and to His resurrection. Separated in historical time by three days, but in spiritual time inseparable.
Joseph William Perry Home Page
Photo by J. Randall Moody
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