“Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.”

Yesterday was the first of three Rogation Days leading up to Ascension Day on Thursday.  Rogation Sunday is the day when the Church has traditionally offered prayer for God’s blessings on the fruits of the earth and the labours of those who produce our food.

The word “rogation” is from the Latin rogare, “to ask.”  Historically, the Rogation Days were a period of fasting and abstinence, asking for God’s blessing on the crops for a bountiful harvest.  Less of us today directly derive our livelihood from the production of food, yet it is good to be reminded of our dependence upon those who do and our responsibility for the environment.

One of my favourite programmes on a Sunday evening is Country File and over the last few Sundays individual presenters have been looking at how the present ‘lock down’ has effected the different areas they live in and on the whole the results have been very interesting.

If we are able to take any positives at all from this world Pandemic, it is that our wildlife and environment have in the main part enjoyed the lack of human footfall and interference.  Many may well find that this is NOT surprising!

The air quality in many cities and towns, worldwide, has seen a marked improvement with the lack of traffic, as have the skies overhead, with the marked decrease in air traffic.

Our wildlife has enjoyed a period of peace and quiet without the usual ‘people pollution’, and although our farmers have had various problems, especially overcoming a very wet autumn and winter, they are resilient people and with now an improvement in the weather, crops are being both sown and harvested.

Are there things that each and everyone of us should learn from this Pandemic?  Well, I expect there are quite a few things, if we are honest, that we should take to heart when we are able to look back on these times.

One I believe to be important, is how we treat this world that God gave us, how we truly value it and wish to pass it on to future generations.  Most of us in the British Isles are very fortunate to live in and be close to beautiful countryside of great variety, much of which supplies us with the food, and areas of recreation, for our wellbeing.  Let us all take a little bit more time to appreciate and be truly thankful for this God given gift.

I will, like my fellow Reader, Richard, finish with a well known verse from a Hymn!

We plough the fields and scatter
the good seed on the land,
but it is fed and watered
by God’s almighty hand;
he sends the snow in winter,
the warmth to swell the grain,
the breezes and the sunshine
and soft refreshing rain.
All good gifts around us
are sent from heaven above,
then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord
for all his love.