Well? What are you gonna say about this day? Is this not AWESOME!! I remember one April when we had just gotten back home as spring was bustin' out after having just driven home from West Texas. Back here everything was blooming all at the same time! In Texas, the only spring color we saw was the red light on the top of the Texas state trooper car as he pulled us over while we were speeding a little too fast to get back to our Tennessee spring! Texas is great and everything…especially if you like…well, Texas. But East Tennessee in the spring…AWESOME!
They're just starting to peep out, but I get the feeling that they're gonna be so spectacular, that the dogwoods would win the gold medal this year if there were the Dogwood Olympics! And amazingly we’re not the only ones with beeeaaauuutiful Cornus floridas! In Missouri, the dogwood’s the state tree. In North Carolina, it’s the state flower! In Virginia it’s the state flower AND state tree! They almost voted it the state bird!
Did you know that the dogwood…which comes from the Celtic dagga, which was this kind of tool they made out of dogwood wood…is actually good for your dog? If your dog gets those doggie skin problems, just boil dogwood bark, and wash ol’Fido in the juice!
At Christmas, you put lights and stuff all over your house and yard to make it Christmasy. But in the spring you just sit back and…ahhh! AWESOME! And SPRINGY! Sometimes people shine lights and tie plastic Easter eggs on their dogwoods. But aren’t they beautiful…aren’t they the best… just the way God made them?
I don’t know if you’ve ever heard the legend of the dogwood. The story is that once dogwoods were thick and tall, like oaks. The story says that the cross that they made Jesus carry through the streets of Jerusalem was made of this tree…
”When Christ was on earth, the dogwood grew
To a towering size with a lovely hue.
Its branches were strong and interwoven,
And for Christ's cross its timbers were chosen…”
So, God decided that since the dogwood was used for the cross of our Lord, it would never be large and stately again, but gnarly and twisted…
“'The petals shall have bloodstains marked brown,
And in the blossom's center a thorny crown.
All who see it will think of me,
Nailed to a cross from a dogwood tree.'”
Only thing is…that legend isn’t true.
Really, there was no need to make up stuff about the dogwood to make them any more graceful and lovely than they are already. Aren’t they beautiful…aren’t they the best…just the way God made them?
And the story of our Lord Jesus…Creator of heaven and earth…of rain and sunshine…of tulips, daffodils, redbuds, grass and dogwoods…born into a poor, poor family, growing to be, as the Gospel of Luke tells us, “the favorite of God and men”, dying for love of those who despised Him, rising to win their hearts and wills, living to help us walk through this world and to one day bring us home…
…There’s really no need to invent and add legends to this…to this life, this love, this walk, this gift of blood, and this heart for us.
The story of Jesus…isn’t it beautiful…isn’t it best…just the way God told it?