I enjoy painting flowers. Some members of places of worship like to place floral arrangements in prominent positions to be admired and enjoyed.
Someday, I may do a series on Christian symbols with floral themes. Many of these floral symbols have deep cultural roots and associations.
One of my favorite subjects is the Lotus. It is not a Christian symbol, but is a polyvalent one with deep meaning for many people in eastern cultures. The lotus is sacred to Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jains. Many of these sages have observed this flower blooming pure and beautiful, untouched by the muddy habitat from which it rises.
When you think about how cultures and geography imbues religious and spiritual practice, it’s not hard to understand why the lotus doesn’t appear in religions like Christianity, Judaism and Islam which all originated from desert and arid water poor regions. However, ancient Egyptians, who lived along the Nile River, with plentiful water access, enjoyed and revered the water lily (similar but not the same as the lotus) as a sacred symbol of the rising of the sun and life force.
Often as not, flowers often were associated with the fruit borne from them. The blossoms of peach, plum, apricot yield luscious stone fruit. The bounty of such fruits are essential to nutrition, satisfaction, and enjoyment of sweet bounty.
Lotus flowers yield not fruit, but its bulbous long roots are a prized food in some Asian cultures. As a child, my immigrant Chinese mother sometimes cooked this dish and I always thought this vegetable looked like a pig’s nose—pink, with several holes sprinkled through the sliced root vegetable.
What we worship often appears, like the lotus, as pure and clean unsullied by the immorality and the muddy environment of living. We humans may find it hard to clean off the mud we are mired in. We fall short of God’s perfection, “for we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
For Christians, only Jesus Christ has been shown to be completely righteous and sinless (i.e., pure) and able to take on all of our sins. In the end, we will be only saved by this faith in Him, not by what we see or perceive as pure and beautiful as the lovely lotus. Remember, this, then: “We walk by faith, and not by sight” 2 Corinthians 5:7
When I imagine heaven, I think it should include flowers. However,our love for flowers and their fruit will be not important compared to our relationship with Christ. We will stand in judgment before Him for what we have done, whether good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:10
All signs and sights point to our LORD & Savior Jesus Christ. Follow the signs. We fall short of God’s glory. Yet this God, who is called “I Am or I Will,” says He “will be with me through every trial and success. Thanks be to God.