“Lord, let me heart be good soil.” – ELW, Hymn 512
Across Pennsylvania synods and seminary campuses have been marking the season of rogation. “Rogation days” are a historic way of connecting Christian faith to soil. As the ELCA resource “What are Rogation Days?” explains, they were celebrated during the fifty days of Easter on the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before Ascension Day. This ancient observance is being used in 2021 to connect our commonwealth’s Lutherans with their brothers and sisters in Christ here and around the world. Read more about rogationhere.
This year’s observance is a tangible way, amid pandemic induced limitations, to connect through United Lutheran Seminary’s Spring Convocation theme, “The Theology of Gathering.” On April 21stULSheld its convocation with partner organizations, including LAMPa, reflecting on the significance of gathering in these challenging times. The event took on a strong creation care emphasis, linking it to the start of the growing season in Pennsylvania. You can watch a recording of the convocationhere.
Leading up to convocation, LAMPa worked to gather pictures, prayers, soils, and stories from across the commonwealth to be used in the event. Synods sent soil samples from a variety of locations across their territories including community gardens, farms, landmarks, parks, and more. Each sample came with pictures, a story, and a prayer request. These prayer requests were lifted in the convocation worship liturgy. All submissions to LAMPa are available to view online here. The soil samples were distributed by LAMPa to the synods, so that each possessed a small amount from each of the others. These samples were and will be used in rogation observances held in each territory throughout the growing season. You can watch the first of these services, held by the Upper Susquehanna Synod on May 1st at Camp Mount Luther, here. Continue to check back on LAMPa’s website for the dates and locations of future rogation services across the commonwealth.
“It’s exciting to see how eager people were to contribute to the marking of rogation, whether it be through sending the soils and the accompanying pictures, prayers, and stories, or by attending the services themselves” said LAMPa’s Hunger Advocacy Fellow, Larry Herrold, Jr. “As we consider how we care for creation amid such pressing global challenges, I think it’s important to step back and give thanks for our connectedness through the land, and from there move forward together in being better stewards of what God has given us.”
Our ELCA Social Statement“Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope, and Justice”reminds us that “God consistently meets us where we live, through earthly matter.” Our shared observation of rogation this year has given us a tangible way of recognizing this truth. The statement also reminds us that as Christians, we are called to be stewards of the earth and to protect it in our day-to-day actions as well as through advocacy. LAMPacreated and maintains a new pageto engage with pressing environmental concerns in Pennsylvania so that everyone can easily advocate for a healthy planet. Check back regularly for updates and action alerts. By acting together, we are taking vital steps for the sake of our neighbors, and for all who share in the gift of God’s creation.
Check out SEPA’s rogation blessing, given May 9th at Reformation Lutheran Church, here.