The fifth Sunday after Easter is commonly called Rogation Sunday from the words in the Gospel appointed for the day: "Whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give to you". (The Latin is 'Rogare' - to ask.) In the strictly biblical context, the chief thing to ask for is the spirit of God to enable us to be true children of God.
In the Western Catholic Churches, including the older Anglican traditions particularly before the Reformation and in some higher churches afterwards, processions to bless the crops and to include "beating the bounds", developed from the old Roman rites of "Robigalia" ("robigo": Latin for "rust" or "mould"), when prayers would be offered to the deity for crops to be spared from mildew.
Today the emphasis has shifted. Asking for God’s blessing on growing crops in fields and gardens, and on young lambs and calves remain. In the agricultural cycle, the main themes are seed sowing and the tending of the young plants and animals. This does not pre-suppose that all sowing takes place around Rogation. Sowing is done all the year round, as does the birth and rearing of the young. It is convenient to fix on one particular festival the time to remember these before God in a public way.
In the Northern Hemisphere, Rogation Sunday takes place in the springtime, when there is a renewing of the earth. In this country, it follows Easter, the season of resurrection. Renewal and resurrection therefore are also underlying themes of this occasion.
But, there is far more to the day than that. The real meaning is in rogare. If you don’t ask, you won’t get. You have to ask God in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for what you want so that you can get what you need. You have to ask. Then, once you get what you need, act of the gift and thank God for that gift.
The main thing to remember is “Ask and ye shall receive.” For, if you do not ask, you cannot receive.
Rev Jack's sermon can be view on video RIGHT HERE!
Church of the Faithful Centurion
Today’s sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above.
We are on the last Sunday in the Easter Season, which consists of Easter and the following five Sundays, the last of which is Rogation Sunday. This is a time we should work on centering our lives on the central figure in our religion, Jesus Christ.
Consider these words from the Collect:
… by thy holy inspiration we may think those things that are good, and by thy merciful guiding may perform the same …
As we near the Ascension and thus Pentecost and the arrival of the Holy Ghost, we ask for God’s “holy inspiration we may think those things that are good.” We need help from the Holy Ghost to direct our souls to the things we cannot see as good without His Help. Once we see them, we need His “merciful guiding”so we “may perform the same…”. After all, what good is it to know what we should do, if we won’t, can’t or don’t do it? In short we need God’s help to think good thoughts and then to act upon those good thoughts which when translated into action are good deeds. The point of the Collect is without God’s help, we cannot think or do anything that is truly righteous. Only by having God help us are we capable of any righteous actions.
In his Epistle, James makes the point we gain our salvation through the freely given gift of Grace by our Lord Jesus Christ. Once given, it must be accepted. If we truly accept the gift, it will be evident in our actions. James makes the point that if you are going to be a Christian you have to ACT like a Christian. Our faith will be made manifest in our actions. A person who calls themselves a Christian can and will talk the talk or portions thereof, but will they walk the walk? That is the real test if they are a Christian or not. We have to back up our faith with actions in order to show that we do indeed have faith. As the tag line to my sermons goes, action and not diction is what counts in the very end.
Being a Christian requires both, which will be very difficult sometimes, but it must be done. It is the only way we will have salvation through Christ. We cannot have salvation if we say we are for Him, but our actions profess otherwise. Fortunately we will have the help of the Holy Ghost to help us walk the walk and talk the talk. It will still be difficult but it will be easier than if we did not have the Holy Ghost within us.
We must align our lives to be able to show people we do follow Christ. There are too many people who claim to be Christians, who are clearly not, because their lives do not reflect their stated belief. We must not let this happen. We must show the truth of John 14:6, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. To show this truth we have to live that truth through our actions. It is not just enough to say we know the Word of God, if we truly know the Word of God, we will act upon that Word of God and serve Him in this life.
Without Christ’s guiding light, we are not on the path to holiness and righteousness. We must show this in our lives, by living and breathing His Word, and using His Word to guide us throughout our lives. These are all actions we naturally take which demonstrate we have belief and are acting upon that belief. This is important to our souls for our spiritual health, and as well as our physical health too. We need all the Help of the Holy Ghost to keep us on this path. How do we keep on this path?
We find a lot of help in John’s words, he gives us insight into things which none of the other disciples do. We need help. We pray for help. Pray for help that we might act, and that is how we keep on the straight, narrow and uphill path. So, what about prayer? Let’s start with to whom do we pray?
Jesus is pretty clear. Don’t pray to Him, pray to God. Feel free to use His Name. Pray to God in His Name. In effect, we are CC’ing (Carbon Copying, to use an archaic term which as transitioned to an electronic mail (email) term) Jesus in our prayers. We are not to put Him in the To: line, but the CC line. Not addressing Him directly, but to address God directly with Jesus copied, as it were. He tells us God loves us because we love Jesus. But, pray to God. I think not many people understand this part of scripture, as I have heard people pray to Jesus when he is not the correct person to address your prayers to. He specifically tells us to direct the prayers to His Father who will help us.
If we will pray to God, we can be certain He will answer us, and even if we don’t like the answer, we know that is the course we will have to take. It doesn’t matter if we like God’s answer or not, we still have to listen to it and do it anyway, knowing it will be the right path in the end. We will always have some sort of a struggle with this in our lives, but if we turn to God, He will help us win our struggle.
We have to listen to His Answer and think on it and then act upon His Answer and not just dismiss it. Dismissing it is all too easy for us to do, since we are naturally inclined to follow our own desires, not His. But we have to think that dismissing His Answers will not gain us anything in the long or short term. We need to listen to His Answers and then act upon them, the key to true happiness within our lives. We need to realize that without God’s guidance in our lives, we are doomed, but with His Guidance in our lives there is no limit to what we can accomplish for Him.
We have to realize what we truly need and ask that He will open our hearts, minds and souls to His answer that we might act upon His answer. The critical portion is we act upon the answer that we are given, to do our best for Him so our friends, family and coworkers and neighbors might see the light we shine for Him and see who we follow in word and in deed.
So, pray to God, ask for what you want in Jesus’ Name. He always listens and He always delivers. The problem for us is He delivers what we need, not necessarily what we want. Our wants and our needs are oft different, in fact they are seldom the same. But we should want what we need, and God will help us understand if we be a doer and a hearer of His Word. He will always give us what we need, but will we listen to what He wants us to do?
Need and want, they are both four letter words, oft used interchangeably, which do not mean the same thing.
God’s Will is always done, we just don’t understand. Accept what happens as acceptable, so long as you have done all you can. In the end, all that counts is where you go when you leave here. That depends on your actions in following Jesus’ instructions. If you believe, you are safe. Now and forever.
Ø Talk the Talk;
Ø Walk the Walk.
It is an uphill trail. The easy downhill trail does not lead to the summit.
The time is now, not tomorrow. The time has come, indeed. How will you ACT?
It is by our actions we are known.
Be of God - Live of God - Act of God