Sunday, March 29, 2015

Legends of the Dogwood

I have a dear friend that recently went on a day trip to East Texas just to see the Dogwoods in bloom.  She had a wonderful time enjoying these precious flowers.
 

As legend has it, the cross on which Jesus was crucified was made from a dogwood tree. God decreed that the dogwood tree would from that day forth never grow large enough to be used to make a cross. Thus, the dogwood tree is a small, under story tree. The flower of the dogwood has four petals which makes the shape of a cross. The center of the flower resembles the crown of thorns with bright red, clustered fruit in the center representing the blood of Christ. The dogwood blooms in April when Easter Sunday marks the resurrection of Christ after the Crucifixion.

 
The Old Legend of the Dogwood
Author Unknown

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 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 -- and in the center of the flower will be a crown of thorns, and all who see this will remember.
 

Legend of the Dogwood #2
 Unknown

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

'Twas strong & 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 & 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."

 

 Today's Inspiration:
My friend Zephra


 
Until Next Time
He is Risen!


 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Our Daily Bread

Paul's letter to the followers of Jesus in Thessalonica paints a picture of life-giving relationships in God's family.

 
 We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority.  Instead, we were like young children among you.  Just as a nursing mother cares for her children,  so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.  Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.  You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed.  For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children,  encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.  And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.  For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews
 1 Thessalonians 2:6-14 (NIV)



In God's family of faith, He provides mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and Circles of Friends for us.  The Lord gives His joy as we share our lives together in His grace and love.

Today's Inspiration:
Our Daily Bread

Until Next Time
God loves you and me; Let's love one another.