The Rector's Corner states:
The most recent lectionary of the Episcopal Church has determinedly removed almost every possible reference to the venerable tradition of Rogationtide just as the need for it in our liturgical life has become so clear.
So, while Earth Day is promoted by some in the Church and others are bent on adding a politically preachy “Creation Season” to the calendar, the very practical and down-to-earth (literally) customs of Holy Church are forgotten.
Thankfully, more recent liturgical revision has recognised that such utilitarianism is both liturgically and theologically impoverished. Both the Church of Ireland BCP 2004 and the Church of England's Common Worship restored Rogationtide to the calendar and made appropriate provision for these days.
The Ugley Victor has posted a Rogation Sunday sermon - "Does God really send the rain?" - surveying the view of the relationship between God and nature in Genesis and Job, then reflecting on cosmologist Paul Davies' The Goldilocks Enigma. The Ugley Vicar then points to why we should indeed be praying for rain or sunshine, for blessing on the fruits of the earth:
It is no great stretch of the imagination to see that our interaction with God, and God’s interaction with us, can have implications for the physical world ... In a ‘scientific’ world where we might think there is no room for a God who sends rain, there may actually be a surprising amount of room for divine action according to the biblical view of the world as something where God is in every part.
(Unfortunately the inner Puritan in The Ugley Vicar ends by somewhat contradicting himself in declaring that the weather "isn’t going to change because we beat the bounds of the parish [to pray the Litany!] or hold fasts to appease God’s anger".)
The 'messy' nature of Rogationtide which so annoyed modernist liturgical revisers actually - as is often the case with the Church's ancient patterns of prayer - embodied deep theological truth. Praying for God's blessing on the fruits of the earth in Eastertide is a profoundly anti-Gnostic practice, declaring that the Resurrection of the Incarnate Word is the redemption of the world not from the world. It embodies Athanasius' great proclamation:
The renewal of creation has been wrought by the Self-same Word Who made it in the beginning. There is thus no inconsistency between creation and salvation.
As The Rector's Corner says of Rogationtide:
None of this is done because it is “quaint.” It is entirely the result of one thing: a call to know Christ in every aspect of our life, receiving in gratitude and offering in joy to our God. Perhaps the Church will see fit to review its estimable tradition and renew its commitment to Rogationtide as an act of justice, spiritual integrity, and moral leadership.
(The photograph is of farming land near home, Rogation Wednesday 2012.)