Legend of the Dogwood Tree
(Playing ~ "At Calvary")

~ the poem ~

In Jesus' time, the dogwood grew
 To a stately size and a lovely hue.

 'Twas strong and firm; its branches interwoven.
 For the cross of Christ, its timbers were chosen.

Seeing the distress at this use of their wood,
 Christ made a promise which still holds good:

 "Never again shall the dogwood grow
 Large enough to be used so.

 Slender and twisted it shall be,
 With blossoms like the cross for all to see.

 As blood stains the petals marked in brown,
 The blossoms center wears a thorny crown.

 All who see it will remember me;
 Crucified on a cross from the dogwood tree.

 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 anything.  
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 build
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 said,
"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 and delivered.

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 forest
and saw that it was true.

Several years later, the chief wood gatherer heard that every Spring many people visited the old forest
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 among
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 to it:
"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.


In His Image - Free Christian Backgrounds


I'd love it if you would sign my guest book ... click on my picture.  

powered by Powered by Bravenet bravenet.com


Back to Site Directory for more browsing


You may contact me by leaving a message in my guest book.

Copyright 2000-2005 Carolyn Springer Harding
All Rights Reserved Unless Otherwise Noted