"O merciful Creator, your hand is open wide to satisfy the needs of every living creature: Make us always thankful for your loving providence; and grant that we, remembering the account that we must one day give, may be faithful stewards of your good gifts."
What Are Rogation Days?
In the Episcopal tradition, Rogation Days are observed on the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before Ascension Day (June 2, 2011). "Rogation" comes from the Latin rogare, to ask. These days were originally set aside as time of prayer for bountiful harvests on land and sea. They have been expanded and are now times of prayer for commerce and industry and for the stewardship of creation.
The Collects (A short, comprehensive prayer, adapted to a particular day, occasion, or condition, and forming part of a liturgy) assigned For Rogation Days (Book of Common Prayer p. 258-9) note that they are for use on the traditional days or at other times.
For fruitful seasons: Almighty, Lord of heaven and earth: We humbly pray that your gracious providence may give and preserve to our use the harvests of the land and of the seas, and may prosper all who labor to gather them, that we, who are constantly receiving good things from your land, may always give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
For commerce and industry: Almighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ in his earthly life shared our toil and hallowed our labor: Be present with your people where they work; make those who carry on the industries and commerce of this land responsive to your will; and give to us all a pride in what we do, and a just return for our labor; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
For stewardship of creation: O merciful Creator, your hand is open wide to satisfy the needs of every living creature: Make us always thankful for your loving providence; and grant that we, remembering the account that we must one day give, may be faithful stewards of your good gifts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
As a child, I remember Rogation Sundays. We would hold worship out-of-doors and process around the church property, led by an crucifer (acolyte holding a cross) and the choir. We would stop in various places to say a prayer, and plant a tree, flowers or shrub. It was a festive day in which we recognized the gift of God's creation and our responsibility to tend and care for it.
While this tradition may have fallen away in many congregations, many churches continue to have "clean up days" or weekends in which the property committee or gardeners gather to spruce up the church grounds. Why not hold these days on Sundays either before, during, or after worship? All ages can gather to give thanks for God's creation while sharing a communal experience of caring for creation as well as one's church grounds. It's another way to engage all ages - no matter their expertise or size.
Resources for Faith and Nature
Another idea as we enter this 'green, growing season' of "Ordinary Time" (the season after Pentecost) is to build a community garden on your church property. Episcopal Relief and Development have a free, downloadable curriculum, "The Abundant Life Garden Project" for children as well as activities for youth.
Other resources that can be used all year long (think summer and VBS, too) are:
- Faith and Nature: The Divine Adventure of Life on Earth - an intergeneration curriculum
- To Serve and Guard the Earth: God's Creation Story and Our Environmental Concern - a six session curriculum for High School and adults
- Web of Creation website of resources
Sharon Ely Pearson is a 30+ year Christian formation veteran, currently serving as an editor and the Christian Formation Specialist for Church Publishing Incorporated. Wife, mother, grandmother, and author, she enjoys connecting people with each other and the resources they need for growing in the knowledge and love of Jesus.