This Sunday, the Sixth of Eastertide, was in earlier times commonly called Rogation (Asking) Sunday. Along with the three days following, it was a time of special prayer for God’s blessing on the land, and, as the seeds were sown, for a good harvest. A tradition developed too of “beating the bounds,” walking around the parish boundaries as the prayers were offered.
Prayer and action for good stewardship of the land, of the creation, is part of our baptismal covenant, especially needed in this time of climate change. The Salal+Cedar ministry of our diocese is a prompt and challenge to us in this regard. There is a motion before Synod this weekend urging parishes to attend to their response to this issue. How are we at St. James’ being careful stewards?
Four years ago, just before my arrival, Fr. Fenton led a small group of parishioners in beating the bounds of St. James’, walking the parish boundaries. I am told that there was some surprise at how extensive they are, stretching to Clark in the east, Terminal to the south and towards Cambie to the west. Our attention is so often drawn, understandably, to the particular challenges of the Downtown Eastside around the church building that we lose sight of our care for the wider neighbourhood. Rogationtide reminds us of our wider responsibility, and makes me wonder again how might we raise our profile in Strathcona, for example.
In these coming days then, let us give thanks for the beauty and wonder of the creation, praying for a more careful stewardship of this precious gift. Let us pray too for all who live and work in our wider parish, and for grace to recognise and to reflect the light and love of Christ amongst us all.