Skip to content

Rogation Days

May 12, 2009

“Ask and ye shall receive ” is part of the Gospel for next Sunday, which is therefore often called Rogation Sunday, from the latin “rogare’ – to ask. The three following days are also called Rogation Days, and on them farmers used to ask the parish priest to come and bless the fields which were being sown with new seed. In that sense, the Rogationtide is like a springtime bookend whose partner is the Harvest Festival in the autumn. In country parishes to this day, the clergy, choir and people go round the edges of the parish “beating the bounds” (and, in less politically correct times, often the choirboys too!). This makes best sense when a parish is small and rural, but I have seen it done in central London when all twelve streets of the parish were visited.

The Scottish Episcopal Prayer Book (which by now you may have gathered is the only one I really know!) has Rogation prayers for not only the harvest of the fields, but also for fishermen and the harvest of the seas, and also for all the industries of the country. I am not sure, but think it may be on Rogation Sunday that the splendid rector of St Magnus the Martyr, London Bridge, goes out in cope and biretta onto the Bridge and blesses the Thames. Fr Philip Warner, the said splendid Rector, is fond of the Orthodox Church and may therefore imitate their custom of throwing a cross into the waters. But not even he, surely, would encourage altar boys to dive in and compete to retrieve it, as happens in Greece, for example; but, of course it is warmer in Greece, and the water is crystal clear, unlike the Thames.

I have resisted the temptation to bless the Schuylkill River , though it is only a stone’s throw from St Clement’s. I reckon we do our duty simply by processing round the outside of the church and pausing for prayers of blessing in the garden, at a statue of St Francis. This year we shall have a Primate of the Anglican Communion to do the blessings. That should give new life to the crepe myrtles!

Come and join us.

Advertisements
2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 16, 2009 4:46 am

    Oh Father, you’ve mispelled “crape myrtle” they way I used to. I always thought that the bush was somehow related to the soles of those shoes that were virtually silent. You may recall we used to sometimes refer to them as “brothel creepers”. (For obvious reasons they became required wardrobe at BBC Broadcasting House – any noise in the hallways being strictly verboten!)

    Somewhat to my amazement I discovered a web-site where this matter of spelling is taken up by the author. You’ll find it at: http://www.floridata.com/ref/L/lager_i.cfm
    For those unwilling to enter the world of horticultural exoctica, here is an excerpt from this web-site:
    “The common name of this plant is crape myrtle not crepe myrtle. It is called this because the flowers have crinkly petals that resemble the material called crepe (which according to Webster is a “light crinkled fabric woven of any of various fibers”) but many references tell us that you’re supposed to spell it crape when it’s in front of myrtle. Confused? I think somebody was full of crape when they came up with this name!”

    I say no more…

    With love,

    JOHN (& MELINDA)
    http://www.johnburrows.net

  2. May 16, 2009 2:31 pm

    Oh Father, you’ve misspelled “crape myrtle” they way I used to. I always thought that the bush was somehow related to the soles of those shoes that were virtually silent. You may recall we used to sometimes refer to them as “brothel creepers”. (For obvious reasons they became required wardrobe at BBC Broadcasting House – any noise in the hallways being strictly verboten!)

    Somewhat to my amazement I discovered a web-site where this matter of spelling is taken up by the author. You’ll find it at: http://www.floridata.com/ref/L/lager_i.cfm
    For those unwilling to enter the world of horticultural exotica, here is an excerpt from this web-site:
    “The common name of this plant is crape myrtle not crepe myrtle. It is called this because the flowers have crinkly petals that resemble the material called crepe (which according to Webster is a “light crinkled fabric woven of any of various fibers”) but many references tell us that you’re supposed to spell it crape when it’s in front of myrtle. Confused? I think somebody was full of crape when they came up with this name!”

    I say no more…

    With love,

    JOHN (& MELINDA)
    http://www.johnburrows.net

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: