O LORD, from whom all good things do come; Grant to us thy humble servants, that by thy holy inspiration we may think those things that are good, and by thy merciful guiding may perform the same; through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Epistle (St. James i. 22)
BE ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
The Gospel (St. John xvi. 23)
VERILY, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father. At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God. Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Rogation Sunday - Message in a Minute
We are now in the waning days of Eastertide. The forty days seem to have gone by pretty fast -- certainly faster than the forty days of Lent ever seem to pass by. The Book of Common Prayer's calendar winds up Easter with a mini-season we call Rogationtide. It is composed of today, Rogation Sunday, and then the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week -- these are the days leading up to Ascension Day which we call the Rogation Days.
Rogation comes from the Latin word which means to ask -- as in interrogate. In this morning's Gospel Jesus says, "Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full." What he says justifies our practice of asking God almighty for things in prayer. We ask for things because he tells us to, not necessarily because we have a complete understanding of how the process works. It is much like Holy Communion -- Jesus says it's his Body and Blood, we take him at his word. He tells us to ask for things, and so, we ask for things.
As we enter Rogationtide let us take encouragement from St. Paul's stirring description of what is going to happen on the last day when the fruit of our faith will be made manifest:
"Behold, I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed... thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ ... therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord."