FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, CONSIDERING THE LILIES
The white plaster image
of crucified Jesus hangs
above the altar. Its feet
are deep in potted Easter lilies.
I’ve always prefered Christus Victor
to dead Jesus, and I do not care
for potted lilies, sitting there
in their green-foil pots, trying
to represent Resurrection and Spring.
They smell like overheated rooms
full of unnecessary things. It’s odd—
the white lily is one symbol of Mary
who had no idea what she was getting into
when she said yes to the improbable task.
Look at those Renaissance paintings—
the poor girl looking up from her prayers
at that angel with its lily.
When I am an old lady
confined to my house or some other place,
I pray that no young minister will come
calling on the fifth Monday of Easter,
bearing a potted lily.
When I was a young minister,
I bore far too many,
though I suppose I meant well.
The old ladies, who knew a thing
or two about prayer, were,
for the most part, gracious.