Legend tells us that the dogwood tree used to be large and mighty like the oak. Because of this, it was chosen to be the wood used for the cross. The dogwood was greatly saddened by this. As Jesus hung on the cross, he sensed the dogwood’s displeasure being used in such a way. He promised the dogwood that the tree would cease to be mighty like the oak. From then on, it would be slender and bent. Its petals would grow into the form of a cross, with two petals growing longer than the other two. On the outer edge of each petal would be the nail markings, stained in blood and rust. In the center of the flower, the crown of thorns would be formed. So all who looked upon the dogwood would always remember the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross.

In the Diocese of Texas this flower holds special representation for us as a native tree that grows and blooms profusely at our beloved Camp Allen. My personal memories recall a fabulous spring dogwood bloom season following the destructive tornadoes that ripped through Camp Allen many years ago. That year of fantastic bloom served as a powerful visual metaphor of redemption for me.