Easter, our celebration of the Resurrection, is behind us. This isn’t an ending, however, but a launch into the joyful season of Eastertide. In the liturgical calendar, Eastertide marks the fifty days preceding Pentecost, an event that ushers in the Holy Spirit as promised by Jesus. As in Advent and Lent, we are again in a waiting period, a joy-filled waiting period! Trees are budding, grass is greening, and a variety of flower blossoms offer riotous color.
Eastertide is a time to “Consider the lilies,” as Jesus invited us to do in his Sermon on the Mount. The parables and teachings of Jesus are filled with references to growing things in the natural world. Perhaps as he taught that day, he looked around and saw the blossoms of caper bushes. These low-growing bushes grow prolifically in Israel and produce a lily-like blossom that lasts only for a day.
In strictest terms, “lily” refers to a large variety of bulbous perennial flowers; in general, lily simply means flower. The white lily seen in abundance at Easter is a symbol of the purity of Jesus. Rose of Sharon, another flower name symbolic of Jesus is not truly a rose, but is a member of the hibiscus family and represents love, beauty, and healing.
As the weather warms this spring, spend time outdoors considering the lilies and other growing things. Create your own garden space where you intentionally spend time with God. Take a walk around your neighborhood and admire the beauty as you compliment your neighbors on their efforts. Visit, even volunteer, in Schweitzer’s Neighborhood Garden, or sit in Schweitzer’s Prayer Garden and meditate. Take a stroll through a city park like Springfield’s Nathanael Greene Park – a welcoming place featuring the beauty of blossoms.
To enhance your outdoor time, commit this invitation from Jesus to memory. Repeat it as you engage with nature:
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;
and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
– Matthew 6:28b-29 NKJV