There is a tree hereabout, the dogwood tree that blooms every year before Easter. It is a small tree, a decorative that blooms in the understory of a forest. We see them in these latitudes standing among the other trees, normally quiet and unassuming among the forest giants, but early each spring, they flower into glorious blooms, reminding us that spring is here and life flows anew.
I have heard a story since my childhood that originally the Romans used the dogwood tree to make the cross on which they crucified Jesus. The dogwood tree, horrified that its wood would be used to kill the Savior, vowed to remain small, humble, useless for construction, because it never again wanted to be used for evil. But, once a year it would gloriously flower into bloom to remind the world that Jesus is risen.
The dogwoods have flowered this year, right on time as always. I see the dogwoods in the forest, even as Easter is early this year and I am reminded of the story of the crucifiction and resurrection, and the humble dogwood telling the story that I heard so long ago. It is the dogwoods penance and its glory. Jesus is risen.
Happy Easter, everyone. Jesus is risen!