“Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.” – John 14:19 (NIV)
What does it mean to you that because Jesus lives you also will live? What kind of freedom does that offer you? How do you live in that freedom?
I’ve heard the following story about Frank Luke Jr. and it is often called, “The Day the Lilies Bloomed”.
Frank Luke Jr. was an American fighter pilot in World War I and is considered one of the heroes of the Great War. He was twenty when he joined the army air corps and was accepted into flight training. After his training he was commissioned and given a brief leave before going off to war.
While at home he was going to leave with some friends one afternoon when his mother, Tillie, stopped him and asked, “Frank, I was hoping you would plant some lily bulbs for me. Would you mind doing that before you left?”
Frank did as his mother asked, and then went off with his friends. A couple of days later he went to join the war in France.
Quickly Frank became one of the stars of American fighter pilots. Between Sept. 12 and Sept. 29, Frank was credited with shooting down 18 German balloons and planes.
Back home in Phoenix, on Sept. 29, Tillie stepped outside to discover that the lilies Frank planted were in full bloom. Lilies typically bloom much earlier in the year so this was strange. They had been planted in the shape of a cross, like one of the side of a fighter plane. Frank loved airplanes and was a devout Catholic. When his mother saw this she was nervous that something was wrong.
Two months later word reached America that Frank had been shot down and killed. He died on Sept. 29, 1918, at the age of twenty-one, the day the lilies bloomed.
It makes sense that Frank’s mother was nervous. The bonds of love often will let us know that something is wrong with our beloved, even if oceans and continents separate us. However, the symbolism cannot be ignored. The Easter lilies stood bloomed in the shape of a cross. Paul remembering the prophet Hosea once wrote, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” And we recall that Jesus said, “Because I live, you also will live.” This Easter will be a day the lilies bloom.