As spring brings new hope and promise from a long winter and the beautiful dogwood blooms slowly begin to open their petals in my backyard woods, I am reminded today of the powerful story my Granny B shared each Easter:
There is a legend, that at the time of the Crucifixion the dogwood had been the size of the oak and other forest trees. So firm and strong was the tree that it was chosen as the timber for the cross. To be used for such a cruel purpose greatly distressed the tree, and Jesus, nailed upon it, sensed this. In His gentle pity for all sorrow and suffering, he said to it: “Because of your regret and pity for My suffering, never again shall the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used as a cross. Henceforth it shall be slender and bent and twisted, and its blossoms shall be in the form of a cross…two long and two short petals. And in the center of the outer edge of each petal there will be nail prints, brown with rust and stained with red, and in the center of the flower will be a crown of thorns, and all who see it will remember…”
While digging through some of Granny B’s writings recently, I came across a poem she penned in 1934:
- In Jesus’ time a dogwood grew to a stately size and a lovely hue;
- Strong and firm, its branches interwoven and for the cross of Christ, its timber was chosen.
- Seeing the distress at this use of wood, Jesus made His promise still holding good:
- “Never again shall the dogwood grow large enough to be used just so…
- Slim and twisted it shall be with blossoms like the cross for all to see;
- As blood stains the petals marked in brown and the blossom’s center with the thorny crown.
- All who see it will remember Me, crucified on a cross from the dogwood tree.
- Cherished and protected this tree shall be; a reminder to all of My agony.”
When Granny moved from her beloved Tennessee to Texas in 1955, she brought a beautiful dogwood tree for replanting in her new yard. On our recent move from Texas to North Carolina, I brought a sprig of the original tree (still on Aster Street in Dallas) as a poignant reminder of the legend, and of His loving grace in our lives… Happy Spring, y’all!