This coming Sunday is commonly called (in some circles) “Rogation Sunday,” because it precedes the Rogation Days which have been in the church calendar year of much of the western church for more than a thousand years. Rogation comes from the Latin word “rogare,” which means “to ask.” The Rogation Days have traditionally marked a time of focused supplication at the beginning of the planting season, in which believers earnestly asked God to provide a bountiful harvest.
In previous generations, and in much of the world today, survival
was or is very much dependent on a fruitful crop harvest. If the fields
do not produce, people starve. We lose sight of this, because we are so
far removed from our various food sources. We barely notice, for
example, when adverse weather destroys a food staple.
If there is a deep freeze in Spain decimating the orange harvest
this year, we simply eat oranges from South Africa. If there is a
problem obtaining bananas from El Salvador, we’ll import bananas from
Guatemala. When the potatoes we eat are shipped in from Belgium and the
chicken we eat comes from the Netherlands and the tomatoes we eat are
from Turkey—we don’t generally worry too much about famines, floods, or
early frost. Maybe we notice a few cents increase in the prices of our
favorite foods, but we do not go hungry.
I think our general disconnection from agrarian society may be part
of the reason our culture is often so demanding and ungrateful. When we
are removed from the process of planting and reaping—when we can find
plenty to eat at any one of hundreds of restaurants or supermarkets
across the city, we do not readily recognize how much we depend upon the
Lord for basic survival. We never think to truly thank God for his
provision, because we have never really felt the need to ask Him for it.
But even though we may never experience the hardships of crop
failure first-hand, let us not forget our sense of our dependence on
God. For surely, we are dependent. Indeed, all that we have and all that
we are are ultimately from His faithful bounty.
Perhaps, as we enter into the coming Rogation days, we should pay more attention when we pray, “give us this day our daily bread.” May we acknowledge our dependence on God by truly asking and then truly thanking Him for the things we so easily take for granted.