Rogation: Father Gethin (2)

Rogation Sunday
(Easter 5)

A Word about the Readings
by Father Gethin

(The readings may be found here)

The final days of the Easter season, which we call Rogationtide, begin this Sunday with our Lord’s invitation to renew our relationship with the Father: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you… I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you; for the Father himself loveth you.” In the light of the Resurrection we are to find ourselves free from the world’s sinful bondage, and free, therefore, to offer our hearts to God with faith and thanksgiving. We are no more bound to the world’s account of our human life: the vain deceit that we are alone, and must make our own way in spite of that loneliness. The death and Resurrection of Jesus reveals God’s account of us: that in Christ we are loved, and by that love, we are free: free from our selfish misery, and free to receive the adoption and “glorious liberty of the [children] of God.” (Rom. 8:21)

In that liberty we are able, above all, to lift up our hearts to God, and to know Him, not only as Creator, but as Father, to know that we belong to His own heavenly life and way. And so, we must learn to replace our silent earthly ambitions with a new, and heavenly, language: the language of prayer. They asked Jesus, Lord, teach us to pray, so He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

The heart learns to lift itself upward, as an offering of praise and thanksgiving to God, and to cast our cares upon Him, knowing that He loves us. It is an entirely new way of being, the way of expressing ourselves, our souls and bodies, according to the eternal goodness of God’s love for us. “Be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only,” St. James tells us—be moved by the message of the Gospel, so that it becomes your method of life: visit the orphan and widow, which is to say, overcome the world’s lonely condition with the presence and power of the love of God. “Be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world”, Jesus told them, and as His friends and disciples, we are to follow in that way, “overcom[ing] evil with good.” (Rom. 12:21) Most crucially, that means the work of commending all things to the Father in prayer, and so, in these last days of Easter, we are encouraged ‘rogare’, to pray: not to mourn the Lord’s earthly absence, but to wait on the Spirit, “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,  giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Eph. 5:19-20)

Rogation: Father Gethin (2)