There is a Christian legend of unknown origin that proclaims that the cross used to crucify Jesus was constructed of dogwood. As the story goes, during the time of Jesus, the dogwood was larger and stronger than it is today and was the largest tree in the area of Jerusalem. After his crucifixion, Jesus changed the plant to its current form: he shortened it and twisted its branches to assure an end to its use for the construction of crosses. He also transformed its inflorescence into a representation of the crucifixion itself, with the four white bracts cross-shaped, which represent the four corners of the cross, each bearing a rusty indentation as of a nail and the red stamens of the flower, represents Jesus’ crown of thorns, and the clustered red fruit represent his blood.
Here are two beautiful poems about the significance of the dogwood for you to reflect upon this Easter season.
Many years ago, a dogwood tree grew on a hill outside Jerusalem. In those days, the dogwood tree was as tall
and mighty as an oak, and this tree was the tallest of all the dogwoods, and extremely proud of its strength.
“Something wonderful is going to happen to me,” it said to anyone who would listen. “I’ll probably become the mast that holds the big sail on a grand ship, or the main timber supporting a great house.”
Unfortunately, the huge old dogwood was cut down to become the cross to which Jesus was nailed. The tree was horrified. All its dreams of glory were smashed, and it groaned in agony as two boards
from its trunk were nailed together.
Jesus took pity on the tree, even as he carried it to Calvary. “You will never be put to such use again,” He told it. “From this day on, your shape will change, even as will the world. You will become slender and sway easily with the breeze. And instead of acorns, you will bear flowers in the shape of a cross… with 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 red with bloodstains to show the world how you have suffered.”
“Last of all, the center of your flowers will be marked as though with a crown of thorns to remind people forevermore, that you and I spent our last moments together.” And so it was. And so it is.
~ Author Unknown ~
In Jesus’ time, the dogwood grew
To a stately size and a lovely hue.
‘Twas strong and firm it’s 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 blossom’s 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 PINE TREE
Do the pine trees really know when it is Easter???
Pine trees will start their new growth in the weeks before Easter; if you look closely at the tops of the Pine trees two weeks before, you will see the yellow shoots.
As the days get close to Easter Sunday, the tallest shoot will branch off and form a cross.
Near the time when Easter Sunday comes around, you will see that most of the pine trees will have small yellow crosses on all of the tallest shoots.
This tree can only be found in southeastern United States. It grows in all of Florida, and the southern half of Georgia and Alabama.
THE STORY OF THE PINE TREE CROSS
Last April on a Sunday, we took one of our “nowhere” drives. My husband was quietly driving a back road and I was occupied in the front passenger seat watching the scenery. I noticed out of the corner of my eye that my husband was straining to look out my window. This startled me, since his eyes should be on the road in front of him. I asked him what he was looking at out the windows, and he quietly replied, “Nothing.” His eyes went back to the road in front of him.
After a few minutes, I looked over at my husband and noticed a tear running down his cheek. I asked him what was wrong. This time he told me, “I was just thinking about Pop and a story he had once told me.” Of course, because it had to do with his Pop, I wanted to know the story, so I asked him to share it with me.
He said, “When I was about 8 years old, Pop and I were out fishing and that’s when he told me that the Pine trees know when it is Easter.” I had no idea what he meant by that, so I pressed him for more information.
He continued on… “The Pine trees start their new growth in the weeks before Easter… If you look at the tops of the Pine trees two weeks before, you will see the yellow shoots. As the days get closer to Easter Sunday, the tallest shoot will branch off and form a cross. By the time Easter Sunday comes around, you will see that most of the Pine trees will have small yellow crosses on all of the tallest shoots.”
I turned to look out the window and I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was a week before Easter, and you could see all of the trees with the tall yellow shoots stretching to Heaven.
The tallest ones shone in the sunlight like rows of tiny golden crosses.
While I discovered there are many websites that have the above poems featured, I had actually retrieved them from excerpts I had saved from church newsletters and greeting cards, so I did not include any sources.