I saw 'em!
You've seen 'em!
It's happening, folks!!
So quietly…so slowly…and suddenly…IT'S DOGWOOD TIME IN TENNESSEE!!
Did you know the Dogwood Arts Festival started on Tuesday?! It seemed like it snuck up on us as quietly as the blossoms themselves! Don't they have a parade or something?
Anyway, what could be more beautiful than watching dogwoods silently reign over tulips and azaleas on a cool spring evening walk?
Some folks believe there was a time when the dogwood was even more awesome than it is today. Ever hear 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.
The truth is that God made them short and gnarly and decidedly unstately. And as the sun shines longer in the day and the days are warmer than winter days have been, and spring wakes them and sap rises in them, they have a beauty that makes my heart want to shout, "If that's not the official Tennessee State Flower AND Tree (which it ain't neither!), it oughta be!"
Zacchaeus was short ("…a wee little man"…How would you like to be called that? It's almost bullying to sing that about somene!) There was one of the original Twelve followers named "James the Less" ("Little Jim"?) They say the Apostle Paul was short, bald and gnarly.
That's the way God made them!
A study showed the the average 50 year old American weighed 33 lbs. more in 2002 than in 1960 (but in 1960 ,he was only eight years old!) The average American guy is 5' 9 1/2" tall. But loads of them are less than that. God made us that way. Some of us are 3 1/2 inches shorter than average. In the days when our Lord walked on earth, scholars believe everyone was shorter than folks are today. But when the Holy Spirit fills a heart and the beauty of Jesus begins to bud and blossom in a person, tall or short, young or old, gnarly or un, knotted or not, time and again, there's nothing so beautiful in all the world.
If the dogwood grew "to a towering size with a lovely hue"...if dogwoods were tall and stately, when the blossom bloomed, who could see them?
Legends or not, He like them just the way He made them. He likes you that way too.
Happy Spring, everyone!