Rev Gary's Blog - Rogation
Happy Easter - yes, it is still Easter even though I bet all the Easter Eggs are now finished and the boxes are well on their way to being recycled. I have still one left! Maybe you remember the days when Easter Eggs were half price after Easter? Now, certain local supermarkets cleared their shelves of chocolate eggs well before Good Friday, it felt like. So those eggs are off to be melted down, I suppose. Well, for me the Easter Message is still sweet and very solid. So,a continued Happy Easter to you all.
Easter, for the church, ends at the end of May. There are some important days that occur at the end of the month that will be in half term. I hope that you will remember these days- to help, I will give you a little exercise at the end that might be fun to do.
As well as being your Vicar, I am also one of three Vicars in the Diocese with special responsibility for the countryside and agriculture. One of the most important times of the year is Rogation - this year it falls on the 26th May. Rogation is a period when traditionally the church has offered prayer for God’s blessings on all that is grown for us to enjoy and for the work of those that farm or produce the food. The word Rogation is based on an old Latin word (Rogare) which means “to ask”. The three days before Ascension Day (30th May) where marked by times of not eating anything (fasting) and people would “ask” for God’s blessing on the crops growing in the fields for a wonderful harvest later in the year. I doubt if many of us know, directly, anyone who works on a farm (if you do – brilliant), but it is good to be reminded of all that farmers and farm workers do for us, and our continued responsibility for the countryside and environment within which we all live, work and play.
Traditionally, it was common for those living in a community served by a church to go out with the vicar to go around the boundary or perimeter of the area and pray together for the protection of the community and environment for the coming year. Where people came across crops, cattle or fishing ponds, they prayed for them. This is called The Beating of the Bounds but rarely happens today, unfortunately. As communities got bigger, boundaries have too : it can take an awfully long time to do it!
But we can do it differently. And as Rogation happens during Half Term, why don’t you try this:
- Walk around your local park, or woodland with your family or even your garden. Pause for a minute every so often and give thanks to God for all the beauty you are seeing, smelling and hearing.
- If you know a farmer, or someone that works in food production , or someone who works in the countryside, contact them and thank them for all that they do to keep our countryside and farm land so good.
A Prayer for Rogation (May 2019)
We remember your loving kindness to us all
Bless this good earth and make it fruitful,
Bless all those that work on farms and in our countryside,
Give us all that we need for our daily lives
so we can give to others that need our help.
During Half term, we ask for you to bless our homes and families.
Bless our communities in which we live and our care for
Our neighbours and friends.Hear us good Lord. AMEN Rev Gary