The dogwood trees are displaying their lovely white flowers. After months of winter dormancy, the branches begin to bud, and we know a show is about to happen. And for a few days, the trees are decorated in soft white explosions that make the most ordinary yard feel like an elegantly tended garden.
Soon, as we know, the spring blossoms fade, and the summer uniform of green leaves will take their place. So the glory show is brief, and we appreciate the few glances of perfection that appear during this fast moving transition period.
Today's Good Friday. In two days, thousands of preachers will speak about new life coming forth, seasonal flowers everywhere reflecting the message of resurrection. But the beauty of spring flowers is not limited by religious symbolism. The beauty is all around us, every minute of every day.
The fact that we’ve done nothing to make the blossoms appear gives us a chance to be grateful, and reflect on the nature of creativity. Here they are, these branches of this dogwood tree, waiting patiently through the winter months, storing the hope of their glory, then erupting in a gorgeous statement of beauty, for our enjoyment and inspiration. There is something intense that happens in those buds, in those branches, as the forces of life, the chemical instigators, all work together to do their job of simply making something beautiful.
Jesus had something to say about it. He spoke of the lilies of the field, saying “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”
In other words, the flowers are beautiful, but there’s no effort required. It’s just lilies being what they are, as beautiful as they were created to be.
Of course, dogwood blossoms being beautiful is not a dry fact isolated from our human responses. It’s as much about us as it is about them. We see them and we see beauty. The fact that it’s effortless only makes them more beautiful.
The fact that God made something beautiful is not only about the flower that we see as beautiful. It’s also about our sense of beauty - how the sight triggers a larger sense of enduring value that we carry in our souls, and how a simple blossom can trigger that sensation, that awareness, that quiet moment of awe.
OK, how is a song like a dogwood blossom? Well, it’s simply a matter of the creative forces operating the way they were designed to operate. A song coming out of a songwriter is as effortless and natural as a dogwood blossom erupting at the end of a springtime branch.
As the dogwood tree is designed to display its blossoms, so an artist is created to display the art that can come only from that artist. Because an artist is a person, with a far more intricate consciousness than a tree, the art work is loaded with extra layers of meaning. But the process that produces a blossom, or a song, still points back to the source of creativity, the Creator who made the trees to bear blossoms as well as the creative people, who only see the beauty in the blossoms but also have the desire and ability to create something else that no one else could create.
The artist who recognizes God behind and under and around all of this is a more fulfilled artist. But regardless of the artist’s consciousness, the art still reflects the creative spirit, as does the dogwood blossom.