Chuck Terrill: The ‘Legend of the Dogwood Tree’

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

When our building and grounds team did the church landscaping a few years ago, the plan called for four Red Twig Dogwood trees.

To me, the flowering Dogwood tree is nature's way of saying grace before Spring sets in. For a time, at least, the Dogwood is the queen of springtime. When the Dogwood blooms, I think of the Legend of the Dogwood Tree.  


You may not have heard the Legend of the Dogwood Tree. The anonymous legend has three verses:

“When Christ was on earth, the dogwood grew

To a towering size with a lovely hue.

Its branches were strong and interwoven,

And for Christ's cross its timbers were chosen.

“Being distressed at the use of the wood,

Christ made a promise which still holds good:

'Never again shall the dogwood grow

To be large enough for a tree, and so,

Slender and twisted it shall always be,

With cross-shaped blossoms for all to see.

“'The petals shall have bloodstains marked brown,

And in the blossom's center a thorny crown.

All who see it will think of me,

Nailed to a cross from a dogwood tree.

Protected and cherished this tree shall be,

A reflection to all of my agony.'”

Easter is approaching on April’s calendar page. Remember that three days before Easter comes the cross of Christ. Of course, there is no mention of a Dogwood tree in the Bible. But, God has put many things in nature that can remind us of His incredible mercy and grace.

As you look at the beautiful earth that God has created, may it draw your thoughts to Him.

“For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.” (Romans 1:20)

Chuck Terrill, who has doctorates from Master Theological Seminary and Trinity Seminary, is the senior minister at First Christian Church in Cassville. He may be reached at 471-847-2460.