Church Council and Mission Teams
Women of the ELCA
Grace Lutheran Church
Our mission is to seek
the fullness of life in Christ
for all people.
As most of you know, I was born and raised in Kannapolis, North Carolina, a mill town at the time, north of Charlotte. For the first ten years of my life, my family lived in a home that had a large wooded yard. Dotted throughout the yard were many beautiful Dogwood trees. I can remember one time when my father took the children over to a nearby Dogwood and pulled a limb toward us so we could look at the blossom. He told us about a legend that the Dogwood tree originally grew tall and straight and was one of the hardest woods that could be found. It was so strong, as the legend goes, that timber from the Dogwood was used to make the cross upon which Jesus was crucified.
After the crucifixion, the Dogwood tree was transformed by God into the smaller, bent tree that we see today so it would never have to be used for such a purpose again. The blossoms became a visual reminder to what Christ did for humanity, with the petals forming the shape of a cross. The outer petals of the flower resembled the print of the nails in Jesus' palms, and the bright red berries in the center of the flower represented the crown of thorns that were placed upon Jesus' head. We were fascinated by this story, especially since the Dogwoods in our yard often blossomed in the weeks and days before Easter. Whenever I saw those first blossoms I thought of that legend and its powerful message of the sacrifice that Christ made on our behalf. But those blossoms have also become a strong reminder that Christ rose from the dead on that first Easter Day. Pictures of Dogwoods in full bloom often appear on bulletin covers on Easter Sunday.
During this contemplative season of Lent, explore in your own mind the images you remember from childhood that impacted your understanding of Christ's journey to the cross and his victory over death. What stories and images are we as Christians passing on to the next generations so that they, too, will remember and be grateful for our Lord's sacrifice and gifts of salvation and eternal life? That is one reason that I encourage you to make the mid-week services during Lent an important part of your Lenten discipline. Such traditions are valuable ways to encourage one another's spiritual growth and faith development, both in our places of worship and in our homes. This year's Mid-Week Lenten theme is, coincidentally, "The Tree of Life." Over these coming weeks we will explore the significance of this image in both Biblical times, and in our own time.
May our walk together through this Lenten Season enrich us with a greater understanding and appreciation of God's love and tender mercy.
Worship & Communion
Sunday School Classes
For ages 3 and up
(September through May)