Rogation days are days of prayer and fasting in Western Christianity. They are traditionally observed with processions, during which litanies, Psalms, and prayers are chanted, and pauses made for prayers.
In England, of old, this was known as “the Beating of the Bounds,” and taught the young the boundaries and geography of their parish (sometimes by bumping them against notable trees and standing stones, or lobbing them into streams and ponds, to make sure they remembered the experience!), as well as offered neighbors an opportunity to settle disputes.
Prior to the Reformation, the litany used was the Litany of the Saints; but from 1544, it was the one known as “The Litany, or General Supplication,” also sometimes called “the Great Litany,” which was the first official liturgical text to be written in English, and in slightly updated form remains in our 1928 Book of Common Prayer. We will be using it during the Entrance Procession on Sunday, although we will not beat the bounds!
The origin of these days dates back to the fifth or sixth century, and was focused on praying for God to deliver His people from natural disasters and other calamities, and to bless the fields and the work of the husbandmen, that the land might yield her increase, to the sustenance of the people.
For that reason, the major focus of Rogation Days, including Rogation Sunday, has been on success in agriculture; and in more recent years, conservation of natural resources and prayers for success in labor and industry have been added to the commemoration.
But on this Rogation Sunday, we will be focusing on the aspects of prayer and supplication (the word “Rogation” comes from the Latin word rogare, and means “ask” – see our Gospel lesson for this day), as well as on the aspect of deliverance from evils. I shall be discussing this at greater length in my sermon!
Initially, the Rogation Days were the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before the Feast of the Ascension (which will be Thursday); but gradually the season was extended one day, and the Fifth Sunday after Easter became known as Rogation Sunday. Wishing you a holy and blessed Rogationtide!
Fr. Tom Harbold
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Propers and Lessons for the Fifth Sunday after Easter
O LORD, from whom all good things do come; Grant to us thy humble servants, that by thy holy inspiration we may think those things that are good, and by thy merciful guiding may perform the same; through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Epistle. St. James i. 22.
BE ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
The Gospel. St. John xvi. 23.
VERILY, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father. At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God. Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace In the world ye shall have tribulation but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Announcements for the Week of Sunday, May 14th, 2023
If you are visiting us – Welcome to Christ Church Anglican, Southern Pines! Thank you for being with us. We are very pleased to have you, and hope that your worship here is a blessing to you. Please sign the guest book on the table in the narthex, and provide appropriate contact information. Include your email address in order to be placed on our parish email list: you won’t be bombarded with mail, but it’s a good way to keep in touch. And may God bless you!
Adult Christian Education – Our Adult Christian Education class on “Being an Anglican” continues this Sunday, May 14th, at 9 o’clock a.m. in the Rector’s Office. Please feel free to join in; you need not have attended the earlier sessions (“cheat sheets” will be available for the parts you missed)! As I’ve mentioned previously, this class is equally suitable for those who are new to Anglicanism, and those who are long-time Anglicans, but who wish a “refresher course.”
Holy Days for the Week of May 14th
Monday, May 15th – Rogation Monday
Tuesday, May 16th – Rogation Tuesday
Wednesday, May 17th – Rogation Wednesday
Thursday, May 18th – Feast of the Ascension *
* Note: we will be celebrating the Ascension at our mid-week service of Holy Communion at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 17th.