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Ways of the World

Carol Stone, business economist & active Episcopalian, brings you "Ways of the World". Exploring business & consumers & stewardship, we'll discuss everyday issues: kids & finances, gas prices, & some larger issues: what if foreigners start dumping our debt? And so on. We can provide answers & seek out sources for others. We'll talk about current events & perhaps get different perspectives from what the media says. Write to Carol. Let her know what's important to you:

Monday, May 14, 2012

Rogation Day Needs in 2012

Today, Monday May 14, tomorrow and Wednesday are the annual "Rogation Days", a period each spring when the Church prays for God's mercy and blessing toward a favorable agricultural growing season and, in more recent years, a broader range of the fruits of human labor. Today in 2012, on this Rogation Day, we see headlines about a major bank loss, billions of dollars, incurred ironically by investments actually made in the name of "risk management"; at least three very senior managers of that otherwise highly regarded institution are in the process of resigning. We see the chairman of a major internet company resign because he misrepresented his educational credentials on the resume used to qualify him for his new job in the first place. We see the chairman of a major electronics and appliance retailer forced from his position because he didn't alert the company's board to some significant misbehavior by the company's chief executive officer, who has already been fired over the incident.

So do we need prayers asking God's mercy and blessing on the fruits of our labors? Oh, yes! And just to be sure readers don't get the impression that it's all leaders of business and capitalist investors who need these prayers, we also note that the greatest financial risk in the world at the moment appears to rest in the government of Greece, whose elected representatives can't manage to agree on a plan for organizing an effective administration of their country. This threatens the entire European monetary arrangement and currency. Also, without looking too hard, we can find plenty of risks in numerous other locations, including some of our own governmental institutions.  Indeed, among other of today's news, California's Governor Jerry Brown has found his state's government will run a deficit several billion dollars larger than was estimated just in January.  He hopes voters will affirm a tax increase and he will still need some $8 billion in spending cuts.  Whew!

So we indeed ask God's mercy and blessing on our work and our stewardship of the gifts God has given us.
Almighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ in his earthly life shared our toil and hallowed our labor: Be present with your people where they work; make those who carry on the industries and commerce of this land responsive to your will; and give to us all a pride in what we do, and a just return for our labor; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
O merciful Creator, your hand is open wide to satisfy the needs of every living creature: Make us always thankful for your loving providence; and grant that we, remembering the account that we must one day give, may be faithful stewards of your good gifts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The prayers are from the Book of Common Prayer, and we last offered them here in 2008, as the financial crisis was building toward its climax a few months later. The Rogation Days are specifically the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday just before Ascension Day. Some internet searching* reveals that the Rogation custom dates from the 5th Century and began in France, which at that time could cite any number of crises far more dramatic than our list here. Nonetheless, there is continual need to ask for guidance and evidence of high character among our leaders, both business and government. The broader is the scope of one's power and influence, the greater is the need for care in conceiving and implementing policies and projects aimed toward the furtherance of everyone's welfare.

*"What Are the Rogation Days?" from, accessed May 14, 2012.

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