Legend of the Dogwood Tree
(Playing ~ "At Calvary")
~ the poem ~
In Jesus' time, the dogwood grew
To a stately size and a lovely
'Twas strong and firm; its
For the cross of Christ, its
timbers were chosen.
Seeing the distress at this use of
Christ made a promise which
still holds good:
"Never again shall the
Large enough to be used so.
Slender and twisted it shall
With blossoms like the cross
for all to see.
As blood stains the petals
marked in brown,
The blossoms center wears a
All who see it will remember
Crucified on a cross from the
Cherished and protected this
tree shall be;
A reminder to all of my agony."
~ author unknown
The Old, Old, Legend Of The Dogwood
~ the story ~
Two thousand years ago, few
trees in the Middle East were not big enough to construct
However, one tree was valued above the others for its
thick trunk and fine, strong wood.
When the Romans came to rule over
Jerusalem, their government used this same timber to
the crosses for executing criminals. A group of workers
were assigned to gather wood for the crosses.
Before long, every Roman official knew the best wood came
from these gatherers of execution wood,
so those workers became popular.
One day, the wood gatherers received
a special request. An officer of the Roman court came and
"The King of the Jews is to be put to death. Deliver
an extra-large cross made from your finest wood."
So, a fresh tree was cut from the forest of the trees
with thick trunks and fine, strong wood.
An extra-tall (and extra-heavy) cross was quickly made
Three days after the death of Jesus
of Nazereth, the chief wood gatherer got alarming news.
"All of our finest trees are withering," the
messenger whispered. The wood gatherer hurried to the
and saw that it was true.
Several years later, the chief wood
gatherer heard that every Spring many people visited the
that had once made his job so easy. Despite his advancing
years, he set out to discover why.
He saw the remains of forest, now like a salty bottoms,
with only a few trees still standing tall,
baked, lifeless and rotting.
But, what was this? As he drew
closer, his feeble eyes could make out the people walking
thousands of beautiful, flowering bushes. Seeing one of
his own workers there, the old man said,
"No one could ever make a cross out of this twisted
wood. Our finest tree has gone to the dogs!"
He noticed the beautiful white
flowers, each blossom looking as if it had been burned
from the touch
of a miniature cross. So...an old and beautiful legend
has it that, at the time of the crucifixion,
the dogwood was comparable in size to the oak tree and
other monarchs of the forest. Because of
its firmness and strength, it was selected as the timber
for the cross, but to be put to such
a cruel use greatly distressed the tree.
Sensing this, the crucified Jesus in
his gentle pity for the sorrow and suffering of all said
"Because of your sorrow and pity for My sufferings,
never again will the dogwood tree grow large enough
to be used as a gibbet. Henceforth it will be slender,
bent and twisted, and its blossoms will be
in the form of a cross ~ two long and two short petals.
In the center of the outer edge of
each petal there will be nail prints ~ brown with rust
and stained with red . The center of the flower will
resemble the cruel crown of thorns placed
on My head, with bright red clusters once again recalling
the blood I shed.
All who see this will remember."
Today, the dogwood is a beautiful
"understory" tree. It blooms prolifically in
the month of April,
when Easter Sunday marks the resurrection of Christ
following the crucifixion.
The dogwood tree is a living
reminder of God's never ending love for each and every
one of us.
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