Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Rogation Days: "Justice in the Preservation of the Boundaries"

"Rogation Days" were a church tradition in Europe that involved the whole community walking the boundaries of their village lands, led by their Priest and asking the blessing of God on it all.

Maybe if we had kept walking the boundaries and teaching children the landmarks, we would not be in such danger from the new iconoclasts today, who seem determined to tear down every landmark of civilization. From the article "Rogation and Ascension"  on Full Homely Divinity:

"The reminder of boundaries had another important impact on communal life. In a poem by the 20th century American Robert Frost, the poet's neighbor asserts that "good fences make good neighbors." Boundaries are often very important in relationships. As members of parishes beat the bounds, they would often encounter obstructions and violations of boundaries. The annual beating of the bounds provided an opportunity to resolve boundary issues. It also led to the tradition of seeking reconciliation in personal relationships during Rogationtide. The sharing of a specially brewed ale, called Ganging Beer, and a mysterious pastry, called Rammalation Biscuits, at the end of the walk was a good way of sealing the reconciliation.
"George Herbert gave the following good reasons to beat the bounds: 1) a blessing of God for the fruits of the field; 2) Justice in the preservation of the bounds; 3) Charity, in living, walking and neighbourly accompanying one another, with reconciling of differences at that time, if they be any; 4) Mercy, in relieving the poor by a liberal distribution of largess which at that time is or ought be made."  [in The Country Parson, Chapter 35]

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