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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Rogation service asks blessing on seed and land

Friday, April 24, 2009

(Sentinel photo by Magdalene Landegent) Farmer Jason Marienau takes a break in the field to talk with his pastor the Rev. Dan Gerrietts, who will bless one of Marienau's tractors among others this Sunday. Gerrietts will conduct a rogation service at Christ Lutheran Church, rural Le Mars, and St. Peter Lutheran Church in Brunsville. (Inset) Seeds for the fields, such as oats, corn and soybeans, will be among items blessed during a rogation service.
There may be a few tractors and other pieces of farm equipment in the parking lot at Christ Lutheran Church, rural Le Mars this Sunday. A tractor or two may be parked on the street at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Brunsville, too.

That machinery, along with seed and soil, will be blessed as part of the Rogation Sunday observance by the congregations.

The Rev. Dan Gerrietts conducted the first rogation service last year in the two congregations, which he serves.

"It's an old-fashioned service, asking for God's blessings on the seed and soil and those who labor in the fields," Gerrietts explained.

"We had people bring bags of seed corn, garden tools, buckets of soil, and big machinery," Gerrietts said. "This year we're expanding to include not just those in agriculture and gardening, but anyone's livelihood which is provided by God's care. People can bring something representative of their labor."

He asks members bring whatever symbolizes the work they do to provide for themselves and their family's well-being. Members are encouraged to wear their work clothes, bring tools from their trade and celebrate God's generous bounty in their lives.

"If it's small enough to fit in the chancel, bring it. If it's too big, put it in the parking lot," Gerrietts said.

The word rogation comes from the Latin word "rogare" which means to bessech, ask or petition. In church tradition, Rogation Days were traditionally agriculture celebrations, where the land was blessed at the beginning of the planting season. The day was observed during the 50 days following Easter or near Ascension Day.

"It really fits our setting as we're primarily an agriculture community," Gerrietts said of the rogation service. "Even those not planting in the fields probably have a connection to agriculture. They still have a livelihood related to agriculture."

Rogation Sunday also fits the church year.

"It makes a lot of sense to observe it at this time of the church season," Gerrietts said, "because it matches the season of spring. In the church year, we celebrate new life after death on Easter, and in the spring we celebrate coming out of the cold and dark of winter."

Music will play a role in the service too, as the congregation will sing the hymns, "For the Beauty of the Earth," "Now the Green Blade Rises" and close with "Let All Things Now Living."

"We celebrate the bounty because we believe that God always has more to provide than we ever need," Gerrietts said.

The cycle will follow through in the fall, when the church celebrates harvest and stewardship, he added.

Worship service at Christ Lutheran, 27071 C-16, is at 10 a.m., with worship at St. Peter in Brunsville at 8:30 a.m.

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