The dogwood trees are, indeed, blooming here in South Carolina. In the south, the dogwood trees are a special symbol of Easter, because they usually bloom in early April. With Easter early this year, there was some discussion about whether or not they would bloom in time. But suddenly, from bare branches last week, the dogwoods are in bloom. They are beautiful – along with all the other things blooming here this week.
The dogwood trees blooming reminded me of the Legend of the Dogwood, author unknown. In case you have never heard it, here it is:
At the time of Crucifixion the dogwood was the size of the oak, cedar and other forest trees. So firm and strong was the tree that it was chosen as the timber for the cross. To be used thus 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 Jesus said to the tree:
” 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.”
Although there is no Biblical basis for this legend, it is a lovely story, especially in a place where the dogwoods bloom at Easter. When Jesus died on the cross, all creation was affected by his death. And, as he rises again on Easter, all creation rejoices in his resurrection. As we shout our alleluias today, may we rejoice that his resurrection gives us the promise of life with him forever. Have a blessed Easter!
He is risen!
And all creation rejoices!