The Fifth Sunday After Easter (Rogation Sunday)
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 which are good, and by thy merciful guiding may perform the same; through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
There is not a “good thing” on earth, or in the heavens, which does not come from God. You may have a heart brimming with Godly love, but that love, being Godly, came from its source in God. You were first loved by Christ before you ever could love Him. He fills your heart to overflowing as the abundant and gushing waters of a great mountain Spring. It will become a river of life to you and to all to whom those waters come, but they are a resource that is only shared as a gift of God to you and all who drink of the Living Waters. Do we not love the beauty and majesty of the following verse from the Book of James, but have we really believed it? Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (James 1:17) I have underline EVERY for emphasis! O LORD, from whom all good things do come.
It is the intent and purpose of Rogation to ask for God’s blessings on the labors of our hands – that they will be performed out of Godly disposition and satisfying to Him.
Are we humble? If not, why risk praying this Collect taking the name of the Lord in vain? Whatsoever we pray without faith and sincerity, we do so in vain. Humility is the first requisite to offering prayers that will be heard and granted. Having put on the Mind of Christ, it is His will that we pray, and not our own. The Christian life is a continual dying to our old self-wills and living in His glorious Will. Grant to us thy humble servants. If we are NOT humble, we need not waste our time in asking. All malice and sinful harbors of the heart nullify our prayers. These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among (Prov 6:16-19)
“….that by thy holy inspiration we may think those things which are good, and by thy merciful guiding may perform the same.” It is the Inspiration of God that provides light to our dull hearts to think good thoughts. We are incapable of any goodness whatsoever without the inspiration and light of God. This Collect reminds me of the Prodigal Son who took his inheritance early into a far country and squandered all; in riotous living. When he had wasted all, he began to be in want. All of his sunny weather friends had deserted him, and he joined himself to a stranger of that far country. When we go away from the care and will of our Father, we go into a far country and will, in time, be forced to associate ourselves with a stranger of the land who cares not whether we live or die so long as he can use us to our last drop of blood. The stranger (the old man of the world) will horribly abuse us and take no thought at all for our welfare. 15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. (Luke 15:15-16)
There is only One Right Mind in all the Universe – that of God Almighty. All who reject God and His bountiful benefits are not in their right minds. What man would reject a palatial estate given free grant over the hobble of the ghetto in which to raise his family? Would he be in his right mind? I say, No! Who, in his right mind, can reject the benefits of salvation, forgiveness, and justification offered by God for the filthy rags of the world’s offerings? If we turn from God, we will find ourselves destitute, even if among worldly treasures. But most often, we will be destitute of mind, body, and soul without the comforts of life. Before we can improve our lot, we must come to our right minds as the Prodigal did: 17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! (Luke 15:17) When God gives us the inspiration to see our plights in true form, we will see to what misery and depths we have sunk. We are most poor in our journey into a Far Country that separates us from our Father in Heaven: “…by thy holy inspiration we may think those things which are good.”
Recognizing our alienation from the green pastures of God is not sufficient to restore us to our Shepherd’s care – we must resolve to leave the pig sty and return to our Lord. 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. (Luke 15:18-19) We must, firstly, recognize what depraved sinners we are; secondly, we must resolve to do something about it; and, thirdly, we must act on our resolution to confess to the Father. If you thought you ever were WORTHY to be a son or daughter of God, think again. “There are none righteous – no not one!” (Romans 3:10) It is the loving Grace of the Father that makes us His sons and daughters. So the Prodigal first of all recognizes his depravity; he then resolves to go to the Father and confess – giving up all presumed privileges simply to have a place in His household; and he then follows through with action. Resolution without following through with action to that resolution is of no benefit at all. So what does our Prodigal now do? 20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. 21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. 22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet (Luke 15:20-22) Do you believe the Father does not see you in the far country? Yes, He does, but He will not force you back home. You must return, just as you left, of your own accord. After making his resolution, the Prodigal put feet on his intentions. The Father recognizes us on the horizon as long as we are coming TO Him. Even though we are covered with the filth and stench of the pig sty, dressed in rags, and bowed with care, yet He still recognizes us even from that great distance. This is our Prayer of Collect for Rogation: “….that by thy holy inspiration we may think those things which are good, and by thy merciful guiding may perform the same. We must perform those things that we know are in the Will of God for us, mustn’t we. We cannot be lazy believers.
If we expect a favorable response to our prayer, we must take advantage of the Perfect Advocate (Attorney) which we have with the Father – the Lord Jesus Christ. We ask all things through Him, and, if we have asked with that same Mind and Purpose of Christ, we shall receive.
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.