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ii. Sign and Wonders - Olives


c.1200, ‘olive tree,’ from Old French olive, from Latin olive, from Greek elaia.

Picking Olives

There are barely two colours: green and grey.

The first, of dull drab olive from the hill;

and secondly a close knit sky that weighs

above the trees a massive crop of chill:

a long canvas the old man borrows from-

to pull beneath the trees. And she, whose shape

now questions the ground for answers takes on

a small grizzled piece of the same cloth to cape

her hair and shoulders. See with their sticks

and pails what strange creature they are become-

who mine the long ripe hedge and heavy pick

of hidden fruit. Winter winds its own numb

sheet about the scene - hemmed with wind and rain.

Two pale ghosts who harvest summer days again.

Jeff Guess


There’s a rather fascinating legend that traces the first discovery of edible olives to a very ancient time in Greece. The story suggests that a woman walking along the top of some very rugged cliffs that abutted the ocean found some black ripe olives that had been soaking in the briny rock pools filled with seawater from the storm spray. They had probably been there for weeks constantly being cleaned by fresh sea water. She found them delicious and took the idea home to the village.

I recall that when we were children olive oil was used for cooking but it was also used as a medicine and my grandmother had a failsafe remedy for ingrown toenails by wrapping the offending toe overnight in an olive oil soaked bandage.


Yahweh Almighty, before the hosts of angels we stand in awe, and whose heavenly service we acknowledge; may it please you to regard favourably and to bless and hallow this creation, oil, which by your power has been pressed from the juice of olives. You have ordained it for anointing the sick, so that, when they are made well, they may give thanks to you, the living and true Yahweh. Grant, we pray, that those who will use this oil, which we are blessing in your name, may be delivered from all suffering, all infirmity, and all the wiles of the enemy. Let it be the means of averting any kind of adversity from man, made in your image and redeemed by the precious blood of your Son, so that he may never again suffer the sting of the ancient serpent; through Messiah our Sovereign Master. Amen.

A very ancient prayer for blessing of oil.

Reading: Hosea 14: 6

His shoots will sprout, And his beauty will be like the olive tree And his fragrance like the cedars of Lebanon. NASB

©Jeff Guess 2017

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