Monday, May 14, 2012

What's a Rogation Day?

I've been working on a Google calendar for the Episcopal Church lectionary lately. Funny enough, there wasn't one that went past 2013. And some of us like to plan at least that far in advance, so I decided to make one and share it with anyone who wants it: https://www.google.com/calendar/embed?src=a9nok3nq6aorn14r44td4mgc2k%40group.calendar.google.com&ctz=America/Chicago. Yesterday morning, I was looking at the calendar and realized that I had forgotten to add something: Rogation Days. [Also, Ember Days, but that's another issue.]

Honestly, I never think about Rogation Days. I don't really even know what they are. I looked them up on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogation_days), but I still don't really know what they are. They appear to be related to crops. They appear to be a time for fasting and preparation. For some reason, Anglican clergy once refused to solemnize marriages during the rogation period. The Catholic encyclopedia New Advent says that they are to "appease God's anger at man's transgressions" (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13110b.htm). Nowadays, in some places, churches still observe Rogation Days with a procession around the parish that involves praying for all who live in the geographic region around the church. But I still don't know why we observe them.

I'm not opposed to another reason for prayer, fasting, or preparation. I agree that Ascension is one of those feasts that, because it falls on a Thursday, gets overlooked. Maybe three days of preparation would help draw our attention to one of our church's major feasts. But I still don't know why we have these three days--the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before Ascension Day--set aside on our calendar.

I like a good procession. I enjoy an excuse to frown and kneel and bemoan my transgressions. I think it would be fun to prance about the City of Decatur in a cassock and pray for the people here. Maybe Rogation Days are more fun than we give them credit for. Maybe the bother became so great that the days lost their meaning simply because people stopped showing up. Maybe this is one of those religious observances that we should dispense now that we've forgotten what it means...like Sunday, or Easter, or Lent.

Now that that's decided, what should we get rid of next?


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