I love Dogwoods. They grow indigenous on the hillsides and in the woods where my people are from. Every spring the snow melts, the birds return, the violets spring up wild in the woods and in early May large white dogwood blossoms join the Trillium and pale green buds of the forest. Here in our part of Michigan they usually blossom around the second week of May. About the weekend of our annual men and boys camp-out and canoe trip you see them peeking through the wood on the way up north.
In neighborhoods you see pink dogwoods-they are imported from Japan. One day I am going to plant a Dogwood in the parsonage yard and attach some special significance to it. I did that once before but it was in a bad place and it died. Next time I’ll do my homework. Maybe I’ll recruit my oldest son to help. He has a knack for growing things.
To me the most beautiful things are often the simple things like Dogwoods born to blossom faithfully in their season, hidden away in the wood among other larger trees. They show their graceful beauty and symmetry for a few weeks to a few people who happen into woods in early May.
We have a beauty-queen of a Magnolia in our front yard just beneath the window where I am writing. She shows off her finery for a couple days in May and a flurry and then quickly fades. A dogwood in blossom is like a strong wholesome woman in a cotton print dress working among flowers on a mellow summer evening?not a beauty queen but a wholesome beauty in her own right.
God has built beauty and variety into every corner of His creation. He has splashed color here and texture there. There is order and balance and beauty in every part of his creation, not just in the wood and on the mountaintop or shore. Woman is the crowning glory of God’s creation. She has a beauty unparalleled. There are different kinds of beauty in women like there are different kinds of beauty in trees. Some women are blessed for a few years with stunning beauty, brief but very arresting and to say it is not attractive would be less than honest. But there is another, more primary kind of beauty. I am convinced the Word of God places a premium on this kind of beauty. Peter was literally inspired by God to say there is a beauty of a meek and quiet spirit, which is highly valuable in the eyes of God. The Scriptures discount outer beauty that does not have a corresponding inner component. Often that is referred to as vanity, which means emptiness.
Fashion, public opinion and popular preference are fickle and meaningless. They often reflect the antithesis which exists between the good things of God and the empty things of the world which has turned its back in rebellion against God and walks away in darkness. There are clear warnings in the Scripture about beauty without depth and inner beauty. Three come to mind. The Scriptures warn that favor, or beauty is deceitful. Again Scripture warns that beauty is vain, in other words it can be empty. And everyone knows that beauty is temporary. It is passing. God ordained that we would grow old and weak and deteriorate. The way the Bible puts it is: “the outward man is perishing.” The Bible calls this process “corruption.” We are quite literally rotting. All that is to motivate us to concentrate on the inner person of the heart. The outward man is perishing but the inward man is being renewed day by day. The fading of our outward beauty and strength is a regular reminder to develop the inward qualities which are enduring and valuable in the economy of God.
I know something about beauty. I have had a life long appreciation for it. I live with five beautiful women. If you don’t believe me just go to my web site and look at their pictures. www.kenpierpont.com. So I can write with some authority about this. We have chosen to learn together as a family at home. We call that a fireside academy. In our fireside academy we try to teach the culture of inner beauty. It is beauty that grows over the years. It is beauty that lasts for time and eternity.
Magnolia beauty is stunning and brief. Dogwood beauty is simple and more enduring. They are both nice to look at, but I will always love the Dogwoods more.