After all the March celebrations of Easter, this month finds us also celebrating in a number of ways: Ascension Day, Pentecost and Trinity Sunday.
This past week, in the Church of England’s calendar, we find several days known as Rogation Days.
Rogare comes from the Latin ‘to ask’. Rogation is traditionally associated with the well-known custom of ‘beating the bounds’ or ‘the blessing of the crops’. However, the true meaning is about prayer and asking for God’s will to be done in our lives:
“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” John 14 v 13-14
The festival as we know it today evolved from processions to bless the crops including ‘beating the bounds’ and this developed from the old Roman rites of ‘Robigalia’. Robigo comes from the Latin for ‘rust’ or ‘mould’ and prayers with the sacrifice of a dog would have been offered to the deity that crops would be free of mildew. All you dog owners beware!
George Herbert, a country parson in the 1630’s said that such processions should be encouraged for 4 reasons:
- “A blessing of God for the fruits of the field.
- Justice in the preservation of bounds.
- Charity in loving, walking and neighbourly accompanying one another with reconciling of differences at the time if there be any.
- Mercie, in relieving the poor by a liberal distribution of largesse which at the time is or ought to be used.”
In the coming months, we shall be focusing on reaching out in love and witness to our community.
We’ll need to begin this enormous task by acknowledging our human frailty and by recognizing our dependence on God’s mercy and goodness.
We’ll need to plead with him, to ask him for his wisdom and his resources by which all this may be accomplished that we may glorify his name in all that we seek to do in our community.
With love, Anne Lovegrove