Drive or stroll past the woods in Mississippi during spring and you are sure to find flowering dogwood. Although very lovely, like the trees on which they grow, their blossoms are comparatively timid. Partial shade-loving, dogwoods grow best hidden under the shadows of their larger woodland companions.
The forested landscapes near my home are currently speckled with white dogwoods. However, to get these close-up photos of the flowers, I needed a tree with low-lying branches. Unfortunately, most of them were above my reach, but after diligent search, I found one that cooperated.
Legend has it that the Romans used wood from dogwood to make the cross of Christ, but the story has no Scriptural support. However, the blooms lend themselves nicely to the tale and certainly have a hint of the Passion.
Consider the cross shape of the flowers with blood-like stains on their edges, their fluted striations resembling stripes and the wounded appearance of the petal ends. It does make for convincing comparisons to the account of how Jesus died.
The dogwood legend is likely just that. However, blooming as they do around Easter, the flowers will always remind me of the cross. Within them, there is a subtle hint of the Gospel message.
Subtle Gospel Message Portrayed
Hidden dogwood tree,
Boldly lower your branches.
Reveal your story;
For the lost, don’t take chances.
Although just legend,
Golgotha’s wood was yours,
It’s worth repeating,
Since nobody knows for sure.
Revisit the tale
About your lovely flowers.
How cross-like they form
Amid gentle spring showers.
Blooms that hint of Christ;
His Passion, of which we’ve heard.
Petals bearing wounds,
Reminding what He endured.
So, tell it once more;
Dying onlookers to sway.
A portrait of Him;
Subtle gospel you portray.
“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.”
Words and photos by Sue Nash/ © 2014
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