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22 May 2022

The Gospel. St. John xvi. 23.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father. At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God. Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Today is not only the Fifth Sunday after Easter, but it is also Rogation Sunday. The name "rogation" means "prayer of petition."  Originally, this was especially about asking God our Father for help in the planting and harvesting season. Despite our current urban environment, we know how important it is that our farmers have favorable weather and other things to make a harvest that will feed not only ourselves but many others in the world. 

On this Rogation Sunday, it is also a good time to think about our own prayer life. In our prayers is our faith and hope. Jesus said one time that if you have the faith the size of a mustard seed, you could move mountains. Over these many centuries and even today, we see the truth of the power of faith.  Our faith centers on our firm belief that our heavenly Father love us. A day should not pass in which we don't express our thanks to Him for all the blessings of this life.  In the Morning Prayer service we say:

Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we, thine unworthy servants, do give thee most humble and hearty thanks for all thy goodness and loving-kindness to us, and to all men; We bless thee for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all, for thine inestimable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. And, we beseech thee, give us that due sense of all thy mercies, that our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful; and that we show forth thy praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up our selves to thy service, and by walking before thee in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen.

A special kind of prayer to God is a prayer of adoration. We pray in this way to show that we know God is present with us at every moment of our lives. We also ask God in prayer to forgive us. Finally, we ask for the things that we need. These are prayers of petition. This is what Rogation Sunday is all about. 

But ultimately prayer is a two-way street. We talk to God and God talks to us.  By this means, He can change us.  As we make prayer a more and more important part of our daily lives, we hear and learn more and more in this conversation, and it leads to a life in which we do nothing, no matter how menial, without feeling His presence with us.

In the Gospel today we also read that "The Father already loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came forth from God.” This is a great, personal comfort to us that through Jesus’ saving acts, the Father loves each of us personally!  Think of how many despairing and depressed people in this world would be restored and strengthened to know this is true of them as well!

When we come together for Holy Communion, we come together in prayer. In our prayers together, we find our prayer of adoration, our prayer of thanksgiving, and our prayer for forgiveness.  Understand that our Father not only hears us, but responds in love to us His children.  

Source: Fifth Sunday after Easter--May 28, 2000
Fr. William Sisterman
St. Dunstan's Anglican Church, Minneapolis, MN 

Bishop Edwin Tompkins


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