In 2013, my husband and I had the opportunity to live and volunteer in Palestine for a year with the ELCA’s Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) program. Early on, our pastor, Ashraf Tannous, one of the pastors in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL), read from Psalm 52 during worship.
“But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever. I will thank you forever, because of what you have done. In the presence of the faithful I will proclaim your name, for it is good” Psalm 52:8-9.
Pastor Tannous said that the olive tree is a metaphor for Palestinians. Like the olive tree, Palestinians grow and flourish in the harsh circumstances in which they find themselves. They live faithful, family-oriented lives despite living under Israeli occupation. Palestinians remain steadfast in their beliefs and values even though they face many challenges living under Israeli control. They grow and flourish in this harsh environment, just like the green olive tree in the house of God.
This message is excerpted from “The fruit of the olive tree” by Chelsea Crary in the July/August 2016 Gather magazine.
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