It was a day of adventures…
We had a picnic, climbed a rock wall, learned to pump our legs on the swing, stuck our fingers in a cold lake, investigated an old crumbling chimney from a pioneer’s homestead and marched along a 100 year old dam. Our final stop was to trek through a parking lot to get to a small tree. A twisted skinny trunk leaned over a muddy ditch trying to catch a glimpse of the sun, the moisture of the river.
We pulled some of the Dogwood branches toward us gazing at the bright white flowers covering it. Then, with a quick look around we plucked one off for everyone…
I ask, “What shape does this flower have? Look at it closely. There are two long petals and two short petals. What does it remind you of?”
My kids think for awhile and then say, “A cross?”
“That’s right. Now look at the very ends of the petals. What color is on the edge?”
“Brown” they say.
“How about red or pink? Does it kind of look like blood?”
They nod, wondering why their mama would talk about blood while looking at a flower.
“Now,” I say, “look at this part in the middle. Doesn’t it look like a great big king’s crown?”
Not sure if they see it, they nod.
Then I ask them who a cross reminds them of.
That’s an easy one, “Jesus!”
Now, I can tell them the story:
God loves us so much He puts His love for us in the pattern of the stars, the colors of the sunrise and in the flowers. This Dogwood flower is shaped like a cross to remind us of the cross on which Jesus died. The brownish-red ends? They look like they’ve been pushed in with a nail—just like Jesus’ hands and feet where nailed to the cross. The color reminds us of the blood he shed for the forgiveness of our sins. And the crown in the middle reminds us of the crown of thorns the Roman Soldiers put on Jesus’ head to make fun of him.
But it also reminds us of our true King of Kings, Jesus the Christ who did die on a cross, who shed his blood for us and then came back to life to take away all our sins and make us as white as snow—as white as the petals on this Dogwood.
The kids were mesmerized—even my 2 year old boy. He held his flower in his hand carefully all the way back to the car. Later when we stopped at a gas station, my mom asked him what his flower reminded him of and he said, “Jeeeesuuus!”
God reveals Himself to all people, even little boys, in anyway He can—even spring flowers.