This service may be reprinted with permission and credits given to the Center for Theology and Land.

Service of Rogation

To begin planning a Service of Rogation, it's important to understand what we're celebrating. So let's take a quick look at what rogation is, and then we can plan a worship service around it.

We frequently think of seedtime, planting, and prayers for an abundant harvest as the main emphasis for rogation, but the word "rogation" actually takes its meaning from the Latin word "rogare" which means "to beseech.

This comes from 5th century France: after horrible natural disasters, the Bishop required the people to male a solemn three-day observance in order to atone for their sin; the observance consisted of three main parts: 1. The people were to petition God for forgiveness of their sins. 2. The people were to petition God for protection from further calamities. 3. The people were to petition God for bountiful crops.

Over the years, rogation lost its penitential air and became festive. Present traditions include "blessing of the fields" with processions through local fields, a singing of the litany, and offering prayers for God's protection and favor. The rogation service is to include a celebration of Holy Communion.

The spiritual lessons of rogation have also developed. God and humanity cooperate in the creative processes of agriculture. Tilling and care of the soil are tasks and privileges given by God. The life-giving power of the sown seed depends on God's goodness. These relationships result in a bountiful harvest.

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The following service is a Eucharist worship service. If your congregation will not celebrate the Eucharist during this service, you may omit the Great Thanksgiving and Communion. The service then follows a slightly different pattern after the sermon. It continues with the Hymn of the Day, followed by a Confession of faith. The Offering/Offertory and the Presentation of the Rogation Elements are followed by the Prayers of the Church, the Blessing of the Rogation Elements, the Benediction, the Closing Hymn, and the Dismissal.

An alternate worship suggestion is to follow the worship order until the Offertory. After the gifts of bread and wine have been received, process to a nearby field that is being made ready for springtime planting. Present the Rogation Elements at a previously prepared table for the blessing. Following the Blessing of the Rogation Elements, return to the sanctuary for the Great Thanksgiving and celebration of the Eucharist.

You may wish to consult your denomination's hymnal for appropriate service music. Hymns are noted by title, and can be found either in the Hymns section or in your denominational hymnal.

ABBREVIATIONS:

P = Presiding Minister;

C = Congregation

A = Assisting Minister

U = Unison

Rogation elements will include a clear container of see, a clear container of soil, and a clear container of water. These elements will be presented with the bread and wine for the Eucharist. They are all presented with the gifts of the offering. Consider having each container - including the bread and the wine carried in separately.

RECEIVING GOD'S FORGIVENESS

CONFESSION

P In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

C Amen.

P Creating God, you know us better than we know ourselves; we cannot keep secrets from you. You know the dark places of our hearts where we try to hide that which we do not want you to see. Purify these dark places so that we may love you as we should. This we pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

C Amen.

P We are sinful creatures; we cannot deny it or hide from it. But we can confess our sins to our God who created us. And God, who longs for us to be whole, will forgive us our sins and purify our hearts.

C We confess to you, Creating God, that we are sinners. We have sinned against you in our hearts with that which we keep secret; we have sinned against you in our words of unkindness against our neighbors; we have sinned against you in our actions that do not glorify your name. Because of our sin, we are not able to love you; nor can we love our neighbors as ourselves. Have mercy on us for the sake of Jesus Christ, your Son. Forgive us so that we may live in wholeness. Amen.

P Jesus Christ was gin to die for the sins of all people - once for all time. Because of his suffering, death, and resurrection, God accounts to us Christ's righteousness. We are forgiven and freed to live in wholeness by the power of the Holy Spirit.

C Amen

GLORIFYING GOD

THE OPENING HYMN "We Come Now Assembled," Dr. Ralph F. Smith; Hymns #1, page 48

GREETING

P The grace of our redeeming Lord Jesus Christ, the creating love of God, and the communion of the sanctifying Holy Spirit be with you all.

C And also with you.

OPENING DIALOGUE

A O Creator God, with your breath you created light and darkness.

C And it was good.

A By your word, you created the heavens.

C And it was good.

A You created the dry land of the earth, and the waters of the sea.

C And it was god.

A By your word, you called forth growing things: plants, fruit, trees.

C And it was good.

A You created the sun and the moon to order the days and nights.

C And it was good.

A You created the living creatures in the wate4rs, and the living creatures of the air.

C And it was good.

A You created the living creatures of the land: cattle, and wild animals; everything that moves upon the land.

C And it was good.

A By your word, you created humankind - both female and male - to care for the earth and all that is over, on and in it. And to these new creatures, you gave everything that you had made.

C And it was good. Amen

PSALM OF PRAISE - Psalm 19:1-6

A The heavens declare the glory of God.

C And the firmament shows God's handiwork.

A One day tells its tale to another.

C And one night imparts knowledge for another.

A Although they have no words or language.

C And their voices are not heard,

A Their sounds has gone out into all lands,

C And their message to the ends of the world,

A In the deep, God has set a pavilion for the sun;

C It comes forth like a bridegroom out of his chamber; it rejoices like a champion to run its course.

A It goes forth from the uttermost edge of the heavens and runs about to the end of it again.

C Nothing is hidden from its burning heat
 .

PRAYER OF THE DAY

U Creating God, you have made our world and all that is in it. We give you thanks for the glories that you have presented to us as stewards of this earth. We ask for your guidance as we enter a new season of growing, that we may work the land carefully and with the love of your creation. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

HEARING GOD'S WORD

FIRST LESSON Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

PSALM Psalm 8; read/chant responsively

SECOND LESSON 1 Corinthians 3:5-9

GOSPEL Matthew 13:18-23

SERMON

HYMN OF THE DAY For the Beauty of the Earth

OUR RESPONSE TO GOD'S WORD

APOSTLES'/NICENE CREED/CONFESSION OF FAITH

PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH

Each intercessory petition concludes with "Creating God." The congregation responds with "We are your stewards."

A Let us pray to the God who has created us and all that exists in this world saying: Creating God,

C We are your stewards.

A We pray for those people in the world who go hungry every day, for the children who have not known the taste of bread. Creating God,

C We are your stewards.

A We pray for those people in our community who do not have enough to eat, for the ones who are not able to eat nutritionally balanced meals. Creating God,

C We are your stewards.

A We pray for the governments around the world that they make good and wise decisions regarding food for their peoples. Creating God,

C We are your stewards,

A We pray for the ones who will soon begin to till, plant and care for the land so that there will be enough for all to eat. Creating God,

C We are your stewards.

A God, you call us to exercise good stewardship over the land, You call us to care for the land with love and compassion. Help us to answer your call. Help us to tend the land in ways that will make it last, to grow crops that do not damage the land, to engage in sustainable agriculture. Creating God,

C We are your stewards.

A Giver of good gifts, we give you thanks that we are able to come before you with our petitions. We ask for your good favor in response to each of these in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, who taught us all to prayÉ Our FatherÉ.

C Amen

THE PEACE IS SHARED

P The peace of our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be with you all.

C And also with you.

P Let us share the peace with one another.

THE OFFERING

The offering is received while the altar is prepared for the Eucharist elements as well as the rogation elements.

OFFERTORY HYMN - "Take My Life"

OFFERING PRAYER

P It is with a spirit of joy that we bring these elements before you for blessing this day. We bring seed that will be sown into the earth, nourished by the richness of the soil, and water that will enable the seed to grow into fullness. We give you thanks for the charge you have given us to be stewards of the earth. We give you thanks for the invitation you have given us to be co-creators with you, the one God, who created all that exists. Amen.

BLESSING OF ROGATION ELEMENTS

Prayer for Seeds (Hold Seeds aloft)

U Creating God, you have given seed to the sower and bread to the people. Nourish, protect, and bless the seeds which your people have sown in hope. By your loving and bountiful giving, may they bring forth their fruit in due season. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for Soil (Hold soil aloft)

U Giver of life, we give you thanks that in the richness of the soil, nature awakens to your call of spring. We praise you for the smell of freshly tilled earth, the beauty of a cleanly cut furrow, and a well-plowed field. We ask that you help us to be good stewards of this land. In the name of the one who gives us new life, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for Water/Rain (Hold water aloft)

U Sustaining God, we receive the fruits of the earth from you. We give you thanks for the smell of the earth after rain, for its welcome cooling, and its necessary hydration for the land. We ask that the rain come as often as it is needed so that the crops may flourish and the coming harvest be indeed bountiful Amen.

THE GREAT THANKSGIVING

P The Lord be with you.

C And also with you.

P Lift up your hearts.

C We lift them to the Lord.

P Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

C It is right to give God thanks and praise.

P It is indeed right and honorable that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to you, God the Creator, who has invited us through Jesus Christ, to be co-creators with you in loving stewardship of the earth. So it is with joyful expectation in this coming growing season that we join with believers on earth and the entire host of heaven sayingÉ.

C Holy, holy, holy are you, You are the God of heaven and earth. Your glory is proclaimed in the growing things of nature. Hosanna in the highest heaven and here on earth. Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!

WORDS OF INSTITUTION

P The Lord Jesus , on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body that is broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me."

In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."

For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. (1Corinthians 11:23b-26)

THE DISTRIBUTION

You may choose to sing during the distribution. There are a number of good communion hymns listed in the Hymns section, as well as in your denominational hymnal.

THE BLESSING

P May the broken body and the shed blood of our Lord Jesus Christ strengthen you as you work to be good stewards in God's grace.

C Amen

POST-COMMUNION PRAYER

U We give you thanks, Creator God, for the gift that you have given us in Christ Jesus. Strengthen us through this gift that we may be worthy servants, caring for each other and the land as good stewards. Through Jesus Christ our risen Lord. Amen.

BENEDICTION

P May the God who has ordered creation order our days as loving stewards. May God's richest, and most bountiful blessings be upon us as we go out these doors to work in the fields at this rogationtide. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

CLOSING HYMN - "People of God!" Dr. Ralph F. Smith; Hymns #8, pages 52-53 Click Here

DISMISSAL

P Go in peace. Serve the Lord!

C Thanks be to God!


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