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THE EASTER LILY

Often called the "white-robed apostles of hope," lilies were found growing in the garden of Gethsemane after Christ's agony. Tradition has it that the beautiful white lilies spring up where drops of Christ's sweat fell to the ground in his final hours of sorrow and distress. Christian churches continue this tradition at Easter by banking their altars and surrounding their crosses with masses of Easter lilies to commemorate the Resurrection and hope of life everlasting.

The pure white lily has also been closely associated with the Virgin Mary. In early paintings, the Angel Gabriel is pictured extending to Mary a branch of pure white lilies, announcing that she is to be the Mother of the Christ child. In other paintings, saints are pictured bringing vases full of white lilies to Mary and the Infant Jesus.

The legend is told that when Mary's tomb was visited three days after her burial, it was found empty save for bunches of majestic white lilies. Early writers and artists made the lily the emblem of the Annunciation, the Resurrection of the Virgin: the pure white petals signifying her spotless body and the golden anthers her soul glowing with heavenly light.

On Easter Day the lilies bloom,
Triumphant, risen from their tomb;
Their bulbs have undergone rebirth,
Born from the silence of the earth
Symbolically, to tell all men
That Christ, the Savior, lives again.
The angels, pure and white as they,
Have come and rolled the stone away
And with the lifting of the stone,
The shadow of the cross is gone!

~ June Masters Bacher ~


Love is such a mighty urge
At springtime of the year,
Flowing pond and bursting buds
To tell us Easter's near.
Life's as new, by act of faith,
As when the world began,
Robins sing in every branch
And lilies rise again.

~ June Masters Bacher ~