Extending the olive branch

Tall, majestic, and thick with silver-green leaves that shimmer in the blazing Mediterranean sun, the olive trees and their forebears have stood for thousands of years along the terraced slopes of Palestine. David walked beneath them, and so did Jesus and Paul. Olive trees are among the few trees that can survive—and even thrive—in the long, arid summers and the barren, stony soil outside Jerusalem. They require patient cultivation, though—grafting, plowing, fertilizing, and watering —over seventeen or eighteen years before they bear fruit plentifully. And they need one more thing if they're going to flourish. They need long periods of peace.

In wartime, there's no time for careful cultivation, for waiting almost twenty years for the precious, oil-laden fruit to appear. Maybe that's why, throughout the Biblical lands, the olive tree—and especially the olive branch—has long been an emblem of peace.

Never too late to be forgiven
May 3, 1993

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