Psalm 52: Green Olive Tree

An angry rant at terrorists while trusting and enjoying unfailing love

Read Psalm 52: 

Open the translation of your choice...

 

 

... and be welcome to the immersion materials below.

 

Mission Concepción, San Antonio, TX

Singing the Psalm

Listen here:

"Green Olive Tree" is part of the Our Roots Are In You Psalm collection.

Full album songbook with scores, charts and songleaders notes available.

Download the song at iTunesBandcamp, Amazon.com or CDBaby for about $1.

 

 

Download the Green Olive Tree Accompaniment Pack:

  • piano score

  • ​lead sheet

  • guitar/bass chart

  • pdf of congregational line

  • songleader's notes

PLUS:

  • original recording

  • instrumental accompaniment track

  • jpg of congregational line

  • powerpoint & keynote slides

 

       Green Olive Tree Accompaniment Pack

       Only $10.00

Green olive tree, 
you are thriving on the temple grounds 

 

Green olive tree, 
trusting, trusting in the tended life

Music Resources

Psalm 52 Immersion

sanctuary space. In the Near and Middle East, the olive tree symbolizes peace, prosperity and long life.

 

  • Psalm 1 has a similar tree as its central metaphor. 

 

  • The word Selah shows up twice in the midst of the psalm. This is likely a musical term for an instrumental beak, a moment to stop with the words and listen and reflect as Asaph takes a solo.

  • Psalm 52 is a moody little psalm. The first part is an angry rant of name calling and curses for all who cause suffering. But hold on. The second part is all about gratitude for God's good and grounding love.

 

  • Psalm 52 is unique among the 150 Psalms as its voice is directed not toward God nor Israel, but toward a violent character named Doeg who helped Saul attack David. According to the story, Doeg's actions led priests to be executed in a place called Nob. No wonder the psalm calls him trecherous and evil-loving. Read the whole story in I Samuel 21-22.

 

  • The central image in Psalm 52 is a healthy olive tree placed carefully within the gates of some kind of 

 

Pic by Catalina Gonzalez Carrasco

Psalm 52 might bring up for you

 

grief,

frustration,

regret,

wishing things were different

 

   or

 

trust,

hope,

closure,

contentment with how things are.

 

All these emotions are very human.

 

In the world of the Psalms, these are

faith-ful moments where we may

encounter the Holy.

Pic by Rodrigo Camargo

Pray Angry

Pic by Vassiliki Koutsothamasi

Anger can be a difficult emotion. Psalm 52 invites us to consider how frustration and even rage can fuel faithful prayer.

 

3. Say what you want. From where you sit, what needs to happen next? If you wish, phrase it in the form of a request of God. Or just rant about it: what do you desire for the situation to come to resolution? If you don't know, that's fine, too.

 

4. Voice your hope. If there is any sense of a tiny light at the end of the tunnel or even a sliver of goodness you've seen, mention it now. Try.

 

5. End by reflecting on this goodness if it feels honest. Most of the most devestating laments in the Psalms have this classic turn at the end towards trust and hope, but a couple of them do not. Either way, your psalm prayer stacks up against the best of the ancient prayers of Israel.

If you're ready to spit nails about something, maybe a psalm is ready to emerge. A lament psalm form frames anger as a faithful moment in the company of our Psalmist brothers and sisters.

 

Grab pen and paper or get to a keyboard. 

 

Here's what to do:

 

1. Address God somehow. Use whatever name you like-- something from the Bible or from a spiritual tradition, or maybe a name you make up. If God is part of the problem, that's fine. You're in good company with faithful saints who have been in your shoes.

 

2. Name what you are hurt or angry about. Be totally honest. Go on about it and name names. Use mean words or swear if you want to. Lose all composure and be judgmental. Name what happened and describe exactly what's really going on inside you.

Other UberAngry psalms:

(in order of ticked-offness)

Pic by Christine Valters Paintner

Spiritual Practice: Reflections on Olive Tree Life

~ Wonderings for a group or alone ~

 

 

  • No matter where it's planted, a tree lives through seasons that cycle. Describe the season you are in right now: Does it feel like an earth season of Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter? How so?

 

  • If you are this tree, what sun, rain, fertilizer or pruning do you require right now? 

 

  • If you are this tree, what natural blessings are you for your family, friends and community?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • It's in the nature of a seed to break open and grow. Roots dive down for anchoring, a stem pushes up to the air and sunshine. The growing tree may produce blossoms or fruit of some kind. In the end, it returns to the earth having been part of the larger holy circle of life. What is the next natural step of your life? What hopes and fears are part of this coming season?

 

  • The tree in the psalm is planted, protected and tended in a holy space, presumably within the walls of an abbey or monastery. What kind of solitude is thriving in your life right now, and what kind of community? Is there anything that would you like to change about either?

 

  • Is there anyone you'd like to share these things with?

 

But I, for my part,

am like a strong olive-tree

in the house of God.

 

I have put my trust

in God's faithful love for me

which will know no end.

 

Unceasingly, Lord,

for all you have done for me

I will render thanks.

 

I will glorify

Your name among your servants

and all who love you.

 

 

From Psalm 52,

Meditative Songs of Prayer: The Psalms in Haiku

by Father Richard Gwyn.

Berkeley: Seastone Books, 1998.

Pic by Bev Lloyd-Roberts LRPS

 

 

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