1 Apr 2018 • Letters from the Rev
In the days before detailed maps it was important that people were aware of the area in which they lived. To make certain that boundaries were well known the tradition of Rogation developed which comes from the Latin "rogare" meaning to ask. It was a way of asking for God's protection on all the crops, livestock and people within a given area. This area is what we would recognise today as a Parish and would often involving bouncing someone on the ground at points around the parish boundary so they would know where it ran.
Some of you will know this as "beating the bounds" and today in Rogation services a similar processional approach still takes place but without "the bouncing"! The poet George Herbert interpreted the procession as a means of asking for God's blessing on the land, of preserving boundaries, of encouraging fellowship between neighbours with the reconciling of differences, and of charitable giving to the poor. That really does sound like exactly what the risen Christ would have us all do in the context into which we have been set.
As rural communities we are in a particularly privileged position to be able to continue to celebrate these agricultural year traditions in the format they were initially intended. Our closeness to creation cannot but help to bring us closer to the source of all life and being. The great news is that this creator God is present in all our special places; always has been and always will be. That they are special to us is God revealing godself so that we know we are especially close to the divine. God really is very poor at hiding away and the more people that realise that, the more people who know that we worship a wonderful God who has inspired the great poets and artists of the ages.
So you may not be "bounced" too much at Rogation but may the risen Christ walk with you in all your special places, this day, and always.