Beyond the Legend
by Jack E. Dawson
Christ died for our sins…He was buried…
He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.
1 Corinthians 15:3-4
The beautiful legend of the dogwood points us to Christ and His suffering, but this painting takes us beyond the legend to the rest of the story; His birth, death, burial, resurrection and return. The faint image of a baby in the blossom at the left reminds us of Christ’s divine entrance into our world. An olive tree just inside the fence symbolizes Christ’s night of prayer and suffering at Gethsemane. The fenced graveyard reminds us that death, our enemy, is real. The large center flower tells the dogwood legend: Shaped like a cross that is stained with His blood, each petal’s tip is imprinted with the cruel nails that held Him. The fading petals denote His suffering and death. A crown of thorns, at the center, is seen on the bowed head of Christ as He was lifted up between heaven and earth, dying for our sins. He was buried and three days later came forth alive, as the three blossoms signify. Do you see the tomb in the rock wall? Notice that the stone is rolled back and the branch of resurrection is growing through the open door, blooming on the other side of the wall. You do not see where the branch begins or where it ends, representative of the fact He always has been…He always will be. The ascending Lord is revealed in the third flower’s petal as it rises toward the sky, just as He rose from the earth and ascended back to heaven. It could also represent His return. The two angels reminded the early believers that Jesus would return in the same way that He left. New leaves emerging from the same flower remind us that when He returns He will make all things new.
The church is inspired by the Greenbrier School in the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. With an added steeple it becomes the old log church, reminding us that the message has continued for centuries. The shepherd in the doorway could represent all our earthly pastors, teachers, workers and all believers who receive those who come and continue to carry the gospel message into the world.