Symbol 21: Lilies
The lily is one of the most commonly used symbolic flowers in Christianity. The Easter lily (lilium longiflorum) proclaims the spring's season of rebirth, and therefore is a symbol of the Resurrection. Easter lilies often adorn the sanctuary of churches on Easter morning and throughout the season. Artists of the Reformation have also used the lily in conjunction with the sword to symbolize Christ's mercy and judgment on the innocent and guilty on the Last Day.
The lily (lilium candidum) is also a symbol of virginity and purity. Many churches, including both Catholic and Protestant, have used the lily as a symbol of the Virgin Mary. This symbol reminds us that our Lord was conceived sinless of an undefiled virgin. In Christian art, Mary is often depicted holding lilies at the Annunciation, Visitation, Nativity, Presentation, and even at the Crucifixion in order to distinguish her from other figures. Often, this symbol is to remind us of Christ's human nature.