by Mathew Fenlon, Senior Associate Rector
It’s something that happens every year–but why? What is the basis for it?
As Christianity spread and as people, cultures and nations converted to the faith, the things which previously bound them–which they worshiped more out of fear than anything else–were supplanted by new Christian traditions.
Before Christianity, it was common for pagans, at the time of the planting and at the time of the harvest, to walk in procession around their fields entreating the elemental spirits and ancient gods to give them a favorable crop and thereby sustain their lives; if they did not do this, they believed that they might face the consequences of serving false-gods.
As people came to believe that the teachings of the Scriptures revealed the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, these old traditions were reformed and from that reform came the tradition of the Rogation Days leading up to the Ascension of Christ to His Heavenly Father.
No longer do those who believe in the gracious and loving God personified in Jesus Christ need to worry about keeping the gods happy or else risking their wrath and either plague or famine. Instead on these Rogation Days we acknowledge our sins, ask God’s forgiveness for our sins and for His mercy upon our land, people and nation. We do this by recalling the goodness of God, Jesus’ loving sacrifice on the Cross, and His mighty Resurrection, as we look forward to celebrating His Ascension to God’s right hand, where He, Himself God, prays for us His people and for His Creation.