Dogwood and Spring

CA-Yosemite-13aSpring is one of my favorite times of year. It is one reason why we moved from Minnesota to Southern California. Spring in Minnesota would really get going about the beginning of May (though there were signs of spring earlier) and be over by June. In California, we have the same sort of spring where plants really get going at the end of January and this continues to about June.

Dogwood is a great part of spring in many parts of the country. This image is of a Western dogwood shot in Yosemite National Park. Spring is going full-bore when the dogwood appear.

Dogwood has some interesting legends about it related to Christ. Dogwood often has four “petals” arranged like a cross. The inside of the flower structure is said to be like a crown of thorns. And some dogwood have small, brown spots toward the center of the petals that remind people of the nail holes of the crucifixion.

One of my favorite sermons was done by a pastor at my parents’ church years ago back in Minnesota. Unfortunately, I do not remember his name. He talked about spring and the crucifixion. He talked about how spring represented a resurgence of life after the “death” of winter (and in Minnesota, that is a pretty powerful image!). He compared this to Christ’s death and resurrection — that Christ died, yet came alive after death so that our lives could be free and full of life. Spring and Easter then represented a wonderful time of rebirth and life after a very difficult time before that.

Sometimes life is not cooperative. Life just “happens” to all of us. We don’t understand everything that is going on, any more than Job did when he complained about his lot to God. Yet, difficult times can be like the winter. We have to trust that spring will come, just like we trust in Christ’s death and resurrection as an expression of God’s love for us. I don’t see winter as a terrible time, but simply a time that has to occur based on how the world is put together, but spring always comes after it. That is an expression of God’s love, too.