Psalm 128 is the one that says “your children are like olive plants around your table.” I understood this line much more deeply after a visit to Italy some years ago when I saw olive trees for the first time. I found them a lovely element in the landscape, a gentle presence both light and strong.
Lynn Bauman (Ancient Songs Sung Anew) gives voice in his lyrical translation of this psalm to what he calls “a cornucopia of good” that includes not only familial relationships but “hidden blessings” that flow to those who “walk upon the paths of God.” He speaks of God as “the center of the heart” who prospers all our days.
Bauman’s commentary seemed to me a worthy focus for the day’s reflection. He says: Sources of blessing flow hidden beneath the external surfaces of the world. These we tap as we live out our lives in right-relationship to God and to the world. Often these appear to be mundane and ordinary, but extraordinary is hidden within them. Look at your circumstances. What in the ordinary hides the extraordinary goodness of God? We are asked to see this, to penetrate past the surfaces to the heart. Notice in verse 5 that it is at the center, the heart where these realities become clear to us. Can you see from the level of your heart?