Time to pray for our farmers and market gardeners
Sunday, May 6, is a day not often mentioned in our modern age.
It is called Rogation Sunday and the three days after it are known as Rogation days.
These are days when we ask for God's blessing on the crops that grow in the fields — to send upon them at the right times rain and sun so that we will have a plentiful harvest.
With our modern way of shopping from supermarkets and online, and living in urban settings, we can become distanced from nature so that it is easy to believe we no longer need to pray or even think about our food and its production, the sewing and the harvesting and so forth.
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Some say why should we pray when the supermarket shelves are loaded and groaning with a wide variety of foods?
Rogation Sunday reminds us that with all our progress and civilisation, we are very dependant on nature — the sun, the winds and the rain — for a good harvest.
Our current drought and shortage of water despite the recent very heavy rains remind us of this dependency and the fact that it may well be there will be shortage of some foods and, therefore, high prices come the next harvest.
The church in medieval times had three special days for agriculture.
Plough Sunday — the first Sunday in Epiphany — which was for the blessing of the plough for preparing the land for the seeds to be planted, Rogation Sunday — four days before Ascension Day — for the blessing of the fields and the crops and Llamas which was on August 1 for the collection of the first crops and some say for the baking of the first loaf with the new corn.
In Victorian times, a fourth festival was added — Harvest festival — a time to say thank you to God for the harvest of the fields and the trees.
We now include in that the harvest of the mines and the sea as well as that of all our work and industry.
I urge you all this Rogationtide to pray for all our farmers and market gardeners and for all involved in the production of our food and our food supply.
We pray that we will have a good and successful harvest and we also give thanks to God for all his gifts and blessings to us.