I drive by on another blisteringly hot California day, eager to race home and harldy noticing the peaceable swaying of green. I have passed by these trees a thousand times as they stand silent, meek and overlooked. Rough, jagged trunk of grey bark sprouts sage green leaves dotted with infantile fruit.
These trees and the branches they bare stand as an ancient symbol of peace. The seal of the sovereign state of Israel bares testament to its' importance as the branches of olive trees stand opposite the menorah. And these very trees were the only witnesses to Jesus' tears of blood as he petitioned to the Father.
In Roman times, the branches of the olive tree were a symbol of ultimate surrender during war. And after the Great Flood, the Olive branch was brought in the beak of dove showing that land was not far away and the time of sorrow was over. The world was covered and swollen in never-ending flood waters and that branch brought hope to aching humanity.
And our world is covered too. Division, racism, floods, disasters, wars, weapons, and death are rampant. Our world is in a desperate time of sorrow. We need to know there is hope. We need to know that our time of sorrow is almost over. We can't seem to grasp enough air above the surface before a new tragedy strikes and our hearts break open again.
Oh Lord, let us be like the Olive tree. Resolute and peace-giving. Never-withering through the starvation of drought or the drowning of flood water. Life-bringing King, help me to epitomize the peace that the Olive tree symbolizes. I pray that I would make peace in a world where there is none. Help me to be like you. Long-suffering, slow to anger, patient, merciful, quick to listen, abounding in love.
And Lord, You are hope. You are salvation to a world drenched in tears. You are the evergreen tree, anchored in love. You gave humanity... yourself. Your very life is that olive branch; offered to drifting, bitter, swaying, starving, angry and lost humanity. You are hope, You are life. Thank you for giving Yourself for all of us. And leading us to You when we would have otherwise been adrift forever.
Heal our land, give us hope.