ROGATION DAYS Worship Item from Pastor Greg at Living Lord Lutheran Church
Grace to you and peace, from God our Father, and the LORD Jesus Christ. Some churches (number is getting smaller and smaller) celebrate, or recognize, Rogation Days, typically the three days prior to Ascension Day (which is today - Thursday.) As much of the world transitions from winter/spring to summer, we often turn to planting, putting our flowers and veggies in the ground, and the like. We also pray for those who farm, and work the land, that this year will bring a bountiful harvest this fall. Most of us these days, however, are far removed from planting, farming, and agriculture, other than trips maybe to the outdoor produce markets, and such.
Our Lutheran worship resources provide this little litany for those who choose to think about this amazing rite of worship. I thought I'd pass it along to you. Enjoy.
Stewardship of creation is an ongoing ministry in the church. The creation that God declared good is entrusted to the care of humankind. Exercising that care is one dimension of daily Christian discipleship. Rogation Days are a way for the church to honor God for the gift of creation and to pray for the land, the gift of labor, and the needs of all people.
Rogation Days were traditionally celebrated during the fifty days of Easter on the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before Ascension Day. The word Rogation has its roots in the Latin word that means to ask or petition, and it comes from the ancient introit for the Sunday preceding the Ascension. In some places the celebrations of Rogation Days were quite elaborate and included processions from the church to and around fields while asking for God’s blessing.
Churches that have maintained the practice of celebrating Rogation Days no longer mark these days specifically before Ascension. Instead, Rogation Days are celebrated at times and places that meet local needs. With an increased awareness of the need for the stewardship of creation both within the church and within contemporary culture, the themes of thanksgiving for the land and petitions for a fruitful earth may be adapted around broader cultural celebrations of Earth Day (April 22).
Although Rogation Days are agricultural celebrations, they are not solely for rural congregations. These days underscore the dependence of all people, urban and rural, on the fruitfulness of the earth and human labor. The themes of Rogation Days may be highlighted in a special worship service or in prayers of intercession in the Sunday assembly during the spring.
A set of propers appropriate to the Stewardship of Creation from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (page 63) is provided below. These propers include prayers traditionally used for Rogation Days: a prayer for fruitful seasons and a prayer for the stewardship of creation. If a service is scheduled in a rural area at a representative farm or field, the “General Order of Blessing” from Evangelical Lutheran Worship Occasional Services for the Assembly may be used or adapted.
Hymns to mark Rogation Days might include any of the hymns under the topics of Creation, Preservation, or Stewardship listed in various hymn indexes. “We plow the fields and scatter” (ELW 680/681) or an adaptation of St Francis’s Canticle of the Sun such as “All creatures, worship God most high!” (ELW 835) would be particularly appropriate to highlight our dependence on, and our stewardship of, God’s gift of creation.
Prayer of the Day Almighty God, Lord of heaven and earth, we humbly pray that your gracious providence may give and preserve to our use the fruitfulness of the land and the seas; and may prosper all who labor therein, that we, who are constantly receiving good things from your hand, may always give you thanks, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
Alleluia. Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the rivers | clap their hands;*
let the hills ring out with joy be- | fore the Lord. Alleluia. (Ps. 98:7, 8)
Job 38:1-11, 16-18
Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind:
2"Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
3Gird up your loins like a man,
I will question you, and you shall declare to me.
4"Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
5Who determined its measurements — surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
6On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone
7when the morning stars sang together
and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy?
8"Or who shut in the sea with doors
when it burst out from the womb? —
9when I made the clouds its garment,
and thick darkness its swaddling band,
10and prescribed bounds for it,
and set bars and doors,
11and said, 'Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
and here shall your proud waves be stopped'?
16"Have you entered into the springs of the sea, or walked in the recesses of the deep? 17Have the gates of death been revealed to you, or have you seen the gates of deep darkness? 18Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth? Declare, if you know all this.:
1 Timothy 6:6-10, 17-19
Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; 7for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; 8but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. 9But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.
As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, 19thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.
Someone in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me." 14But he said to him, "Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?" 15And he said to them, "Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one's life does not consist in the abundance of possessions." 16Then he told them a parable: "The land of a rich man produced abundantly. 17And he thought to himself, 'What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?' 18Then he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.' 20But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' 21So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God."
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