Let the sea roar, and all that fills it, the world and those who dwell therein. Let the rivers clap their hands, and let the hills ring out with joy before the Lord, who comes to judge the earth. – Psalm 98:7-8
(Pictured are apple blossoms. The liturgy we will use on Sunday for the Eucharist was developed by two pastors who were serving congregations in the middle of the Adams County fruitbelt.)
The micro-season of Rogation is an ancient part of Christian life. Rogation is part of the Easter Season leading up to the celebration of Ascension Day. “Rogation,” as a word, comes from the Latin word “Rogationem” which translates to mean “to ask, inquiry, entreat, or question.” We get this name from the traditional text for the Sunday before Ascension Day when in John’s Gospel, Jesus tells the disciples “Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you,” (John 16:23b).
The Church realized early on that one of the biggest things is good weather. Good weather was necessary so that villages and cities did not starve because poor weather could result in crop loss. As you can see, this festival has deep roots as being connected with agriculture. Even though not as many people work in farming as was the case a century ago, this is still relevant today for all of us: as Wendell Berry has said, “Eating is an agricultural activity.”
As the Church continued to celebrate these days, we also noticed that it was not just the crops, but also the whole of Creation, or as we might say today, the whole ecosystem that benefits from good weather. This is partially why we see Psalm 98 appointed for this Sunday! Psalm 98 was one of the inspirations for the hymn Joy to the World, and what a joy it is to remember that the whole of Creation rejoices to God!
On Sunday, we will mark Rogation Sunday with praying for soil, for seeds, and for water. We will also get to use my personal favorite special liturgy, Of the Land and Seasons. This year’s Rogation Sunday is especially meaningful as we are launching the farmer’s market in June.
May God continue to be with you!
Yours in Christ, Pastor Paul+