Digital download: Poems for Rogationtide by Rebeka Maples and an Elemental Rogation Liturgy by Ruth Burgess. Taken from the book Summer, by Ruth Burgess.
Rebeka Maples writes:
I first learned of Rogation Days while working on an exegesis of Leviticus 25 for a sermon I was giving in the rural church where I served. The more I read – the more excited I became. I knew the farmers in the congregation would be pleased too, to hear about honouring the land and the work they do. I also thought this was the answer for saving our planet Earth, and us, from ourselves. Pollution, global warming, climate change and all the damage humans have inflicted on the earth. The answer was simple – stop and rest!
Since that first sermon on Rogation Days, I have developed a new respect for the idea of Sabbath, not only for the earth, but for all that lives and depends on the earth. I now believe Sabbath rest is essential for the land and for our spiritual lives … We know fields need to rest between planting seasons, and we need to rest from our ever-increasing exploitation of the earth’s resources. Sabbath offers us time to step away and reflect on our lives, to find more innovative ways to preserve and share our resources, to restore and recycle what we have, and to become stewards of the gifts we have been given – the earth and all its wonders! …
… Even though many rural churches are still surrounded by fields, Rogation Days are seldom celebrated. Special prayers for thanking God for the fruits of the earth fall under Thanksgiving or Harvest celebrations. Rogation Day has been buried beneath Earth Day and other days of conservation, which do help to open our eyes, but plough over the central purpose – our need for Sabbath rest.