This Sunday (January 9th) we will be encouraging people to mark the doors of their homes with chalk and ask God’s blessing on them for the year. This is a relatively recent tradition in our corner of the church, but it represents a desire to connect our everyday lives to our faith. When we bless our homes and any others who live in them or visit them, we acknowledge that God is in all the relationships we share, whether those relationships are with other people of faith or not. We are making visible our understanding that God is with us in the everyday, in the ordinary comings and goings of our lives, and that our faith makes a difference every day. We are also making a commitment to remembering to invite Christ in, on those days when we feel least holy, or most alone, when we most need to lean on God’s strength. Below you will find further information and suggested prayers to use.
Chalking the Doors
“Chalking the door” is a way to celebrate and physically mark the occasion of the Epiphany and God’s blessing of our lives and home. With time the chalk will fade. As it does we let the meaning of the written symbols sink into the depths of our hearts and be manifest in our words and actions. On Epiphany, it is traditional for families to bless their homes, remembering the hospitality of the Holy Family to the Wise Men and asking for protection and blessing on the home and all who enter.
The home blessing is done by writing on the door or door frame with chalk the symbols 20+C+M+B+22. The 20 and 22 represent the current year. The + reminds us of the cross on which our Saviour died. The C, M, and B stand for the traditional names of the Wise Men, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, as well as an abbreviation for the Latin phrase. “Christus mansionem benedicat” which means “Christ bless this house.”
Gather the family on the doorstep. If it is evening you may want to light candles but please do so safely. The reading and leading of prayers can be shared by the family or lead by one family member.
All may make the sign of the Cross as the blessing begins.
Reader 1 : God shall watch over our going out and our coming in.
Response All : From this time forth for evermore.
Reader 2: A reading from the Prophet Isaiah
Arise, shine; for your light has come and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you.
Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
Lift up your eyes and look around; they all gather together, they come to you;
your sons shall come from far away, and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses’ arms.
Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and rejoice,
because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praise of the Lord.
Reader 3: O God of Light, bless this house and this family. Bless (name each family member here) and those who are not with us now. May this be a place of peace and health. May each member of this family cultivate the gifts and graces you have given us, dedicating our talents and works for the good of all.
Make this place a shelter in the storm and a haven of rest for all in need of your warmth and care. May all who come and go here find healing, refreshment and new life through Jesus.
And when we go out from this place, may we never lose sight of your light. As we go about our work, our study, our play, keep us faithful and make us witnesses to your love. Amen.
Chalk the door or door frame with 20 + C + M + B + 22
Reader 4: Loving God, bless this chalk which you have created, that it may be helpful to your people; and grant that through the invocation of your most Holy Name that we who use it in faith to write upon the door of our home the names of your holy ones Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar, may receive health of body and protection of soul for all who dwell in or visit our home; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Reader 4: Let us pray with confidence as Jesus taught us.
Please use the version of the Lord’s Prayer your family prefers:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours
now and for ever. Amen.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom,
the power, and the glory for ever and ever. Amen.
All may make the sign of the Cross as the blessing ends.