Reflection for the Sixth Sunday of Easter – Rogation Sunday

‘As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night shall not cease.’ From Genesis 8:22-31, the Old Testament reading for today. 

“Welsh cakes are a symbol of hospitality,” Fr. Counsell said. “So if you meet a far-right, neo-fascist bonehead who looks out of place here, the critical question you must ask that person is: ‘Would you like a Welsh cake?'” Reported in a dispute in Llantwit Major.

Today is Rogation Sunday, from the Latin rogare, to ask, as God’s blessing is sought for the Spring sowing of the crops to be harvested in Autumn. In rural locations such as this, if the crops did not grow well and it was a poor harvest, then hardship and hunger lay ahead. Nowadays, supermarkets and online shopping mean that connections with the land aren’t as strong as they used to be but the gaps on shelves and the shortage of some items due to production difficulties and rising costs make food an issue once again. Allotments and gardens are also being used to grow vegetables and fruit as well as flowers and the sale of seeds has greatly increased, all of which should help to make some difference.

Rogationtide is the Sunday and the three weekdays before Ascension Day and the service is traditionally held outside as God’s creation is celebrated and a blessing is asked for the sowing of the seed and the produce of industry and factory. It’s also a time of being mindful of the neglect and exploitation of the environment and animals entrusted to our care as well as climate change and global warming.

The Rogationtide procession was also used to beat the bounds, teaching the young about the boundaries of their villages and communities. In Llantwit Major, a dispute has developed about the welcome of Ukrainian refugees and food in the form of Welsh cakes is being freely offered to overcome the differences between various social groupings. Food being used to unite and feed those who need and accept it – Jesus did that at the feeding of the five thousand and the Last Supper as loaves and fishes and then bread and wine were taken, blessed, broken and shared. He asked his followers to do the same in His remembrance and, two thousand years later, Holy Eucharist still draws and unites millions of people of different views and lifestyles every Sunday. 

The street parties at the Coronation were also celebrations of food and community spirit as people came together to mark this new beginning. Perhaps ongoing gestures of hospitality and the Welsh cakes being offered in the face of hostility will also help to overcome division and establish greater unity – and not only in Llantwit Major!

With my prayers; pob bendith,

Christine, Guardian.