from Rachel: The Legend of the Dogwood

“There is a legend that at the time of the Crucifixion the dogwood had been the size of the oak and other forest trees. So firm and strong was the tree, that it was chosen as the timber of the cross.

“To be used thus for such a cruel purpose greatly distressed the tree, and Jesus, nailed upon it, sensed this, and in His gentle pity for all sorrow and suffering, said to it: ‘Because of your regret and pity for My suffering, never again shall the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used as a cross. Henceforth it shall be slender and bent and twisted, and its blossoms shall be in the form of a cross… two long and short petals. And 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 it will remember.’”

Richly Blessed: The Story Of The Dogwood

Dearest Rachel –

I have no idea when you wrote this down. Most of the things I find I have no date stamp. The folds on this page are tattered with age, and they show signs of wear and dirt from the crawlspace from where Jan and I retrieved it (among other sermon notes and the like). With that being said, I would guess that you probably wrote this down in the mid 90s, but beyond that, I can only speculate.

I’ve seen the legend written down in a few other blogs, when I researched for an image to go along with the story you had written down. Evidently it’s one that is common knowledge, although I hadn’t remembered hearing it before I found your note. I’m not sure what the purpose is of the legend, other than a ‘just so’ story as to why the plant looks the way it does. It’s an interesting myth, and I suppose if it gets you thinking about Christ’s sacrifice every time you look at a dogwood flower, I guess that’s what matters.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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