There are no Easter lillies on church altars in memory of those persecuted, imprisoned, or killed for their faith in Christ. Even if one were to want to bring a flower in their honor . . . where to put it?
In Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Nigeria, Egypt , Pakistan, North Korea, China, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and wherever else Jesus and His followers are hated, the church buildings are blown up, or torn down; set on fire, or set upon by mobs; closed, barred, bulldozed, or banned.
Instead, the faithful will gather to celebrate Easter in the same way that they gather every Sunday. They may worship either in a house, under a tree, or in a secret place. Where church buildings still stand, they will kiss their families as if it were for the last time as they leave their homes for a worship service with little security. They will wonder if it will be their last.
Good Friday is an every day experience for many our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. But even those who live with oppression, hunger, imprisonment, torture, and death, know in their hearts the reality that as St. Augustine said, they are Easter People.
Remember your fellow Christians being persecuted, driven from their homes, imprisoned, tortured, and killed on this Easter Day. Bring their memory, their presence, to church with you today as an Easter lily to honor them. Think of their suffering and their victory over the sting of sin, and death, and hell.
Remember that the death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ has made us all Easter People:
We are Easter People, and Alleluia is our song!
We all go down to the dust, but even at the grave our song is Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!