Church of England Diocese of Lincoln St. Mary and St. Gabriel Binbrook

9 May 2021 Sixth Sunday of Easter ROGATION Year B

9 May 2021 Sixth Sunday of Easter ROGATION Year B

Readings: Acts 10:44-48, Psalm 98, 1 John 5:1-6, John 15:9-17

This Sunday is the 6 Sunday of Easter and the beginning of the week comprising Rogation days, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday because Rogation is celebrated before Ascension day which is Thursday 13th May. What does Rogation mean for those how live and work in a rural community the Binbrook Group which is located in the Lincolnshire Wolds in the county of LIncolnshire?

The Lincolnshire Wolds, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is dominated by farms which are central to both the national and local economies. They manage the landscape and contribute to the quality of life. Due to the geology of the land, chalk, the farms are predominately arable with large fields, tall hedgerows and few woodlands. The Wolds comprise 80% arable land, 13% pasture land and 2.5% woodland. The farmers are specialists and in today’s world increasingly concerned with the production of good quality food for the nation.

In the Binbrook group there are mixed farms. Some concentrating on cereal production growing wheat, barley and oil-seed rape. These are used to produce a number of products, bread, flour, mayonnaise and other things. In order to ensure a good harvest each year the ways in which the seeds are planted and nurtured is important and so is the management of the soil and the use of the correct tools and tractors and machinery to be successful in this task. The farmer’s specialised knowledge of the soil, the seed and how the plants grow is an essential part of the crop production which in this country we take for granted because we do not suffer from poor harvests on a regular basis like some countries in the world. We are used to seeing fields filled with growing crops, which will yield a good return because the farmers constantly monitor the way the crops are growing, fertilising, watering as necessary.

There are many gardeners and allotment holders who are doing the same with their plots in order to produce good quality fruit and vegetables for their families and this increased interest in home produced products is helping the industry. Farming is in a very interesting position at the moment. The industry offers great potential for those who can cope with change and manage risk. It will continue to increase its efficiency and become a vibrant contributor to the recovery of the world's economy.

What does Rogation mean? 

The word Rogation comes from the Latin verb ‘ rogare’ = to ask. We ask God to help us look after his creation and use it wisely and efficiently to enable us to live together in this community. However, we have to be careful not to turn Rogation Sunday into ‘ASKING’ Sunday. If we are not very careful asking can be at the centre of our praying and our understanding of what praying is. Sometimes it could appear that we are trying to persuade God to do something which he is not in fact already doing because we don’t trust him. We are not asking God to do any more than He is already doing. He is looking after his world, although with natural disasters, wars, famine, climate change and the effects of the Covid pandemic it appears differently. These are the impacts of centuries of man’s effect on earth.

Psalm 98 is a joyful one reflecting all the good things God has done for his people and at the end it celebrates the waters of the earth. This links into the joy of creation and the goodness all round us but encourages thought about our use of the earth. Thinking of this how can we relate it to Rogation?

When we ask for God’s blessing on the preparation for the next harvest and all that is going on in farming in our community here we are not expecting any special treatment to ensure a good harvest. Alongside the complex climatic pattern of the world God’s rain falls on the just and the unjust, all of us equally. We pray in the name of Christ. Our prayer is part of our being in Christ. It is what we want to say to God, when we share as much as we are able, as is shown in Jesus’ commitment to his Father, his concern for God’s rule in the world and his faith in God’s care. Jesus gave us the prayer as the model for our praying. What is there is written so that we know what Christians can and should be saying to God. It states:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven

– acknowledging that we know God is our father, and his work is here around and within us on earth and in heaven.

The asking begins; ‘Give US this day our daily bread.’ All of us should share unselfishly with the whole world, the whole of creation including its man-made imperfections. We are asking God to give us enough to sustain us, spiritually as well as physically and as the beneficiaries of his abundance in the access to food, resources, technology and a comfortable life-style let us remember that whilst we praise God for creation, he is judging us all equally, and that we are all being changed by him as we learn more about his will for us through prayer and living our lives as best as we can showing our love and faith in God our creator. In the gospel reading Jesus reminds us that everything comes from God and of his own do we give him. So let us pray, ‘Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’. Amen.