Lent Reflection

14th April 2022

Olive Orchard mid-June 1889 Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, Netherlands

The olive tree – olea europaea – is an evergreen tree growing to a height of 15m, and a life span of 1000 or even 2000 years! It is a native of the Mediterranean and surrounding areas and has been cultivated here since ancient times. It is grown for its fruit and for the oil that produces; the word oil itself derives from its name – oleum in Latin and elaia in Greek. Olive oil has many uses, for cooking, lighting, cleansing and medicinal purposes, for massage and for coating the bodies of athletes in Ancient Greece. It has long been used too for sacred purposes to annoying holy people and holy places. It symbolises abundance, prosperity and peace. Olive branches were given as tokens of benediction and victory, and wreathes of olives leaves crowned the victors. Olive oil is still used for anointing baptism candidates, priests and monarchs.

On the night he was betrayed, Jesus went out to the garden of Gethsemane in the Mount of Olives to pray. Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.’ Luke 23:34a

The three most powerful resources you have available to you: love, prayer and forgiveness. 

H Jackson Brown Jr

Author: Judith Russenberger

Environmentalist and theologian, with husband and three grown up children plus one cat, living in London SW14. I enjoy running and drinking coffee - ideally with a friend or a book.

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