As we celebrate the festivals of light, the Church has given us a wonderful tradition of welcoming the light into our homes and to make the commitment to be lights in the world ourselves. Below is a simple thing each parish family can do together in order to be a visual and tangible way of embracing the light in each of our individual lives (children also love it!).
May God bless your Twelfth Night and Epiphany celebrations tonight and tomorrow.
The Tradition of Chalking the Door
The Chalking of the Door is typically done on January 6th on the Feast of the Epiphany which celebrates the revealing of Christ to the world in three events: in the visit of the Magi when He is revealed to the Gentiles, the baptism of Christ by John, and the changing of water to wine at the Cana wedding. As God has reveals Himself to us and dwells with us, we desire the life in our homes to reveal Christ to others. This short liturgy is a way of yearly marking our homes, usually at the front or main entrance, with sacred signs and symbols to intentionally set our homes apart as places of Christian hospitality, as safe and peaceful outposts of the Kingdom of God in the world, as habitations of healing and rest. We invite God’s presence into our homes and ask His blessing upon all those who live, work, or visit throughout the coming year.
Chalk is used in this service as an ordinary substance of the earth, dust put to holy use. It reminds us that we are of the dust of the ground, the most ordinary of substances, and yet are fashioned as holy beings for most holy purposes. Chalk will not permanently mark the dwelling. Weather will likely cause the marking to fade over time, but each time we view it upon entering our homes we will remember the reason for it and rededicate ourselves to that purpose. Typically the markings are intended to remain at least until the Feast of Pentecost but need not be removed at all. Another year passes and a new Epiphany arrives, and we will again dedicate ourselves to be Lights of the World.
The inscription this year is: 20+C+M+B+11.
Church tradition names three of the Magi, Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar and on Epiphany we celebrate these three saints and their gift-bringing. The numbers of the year (this year 2011) are the bookends of the inscription.
C M B above the door, also stands for Christus Mansionem Benedicat, Latin for “Christ, this house Bless.”
Blessing of Chalk (by the priest)
Fr. Wayne will be blessing chalk during the service on Epiphany for parishoners to take home if they wish.
V. Our help is the name of the Lord.
R. Who hath made heaven and earth.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.
Let us pray.
May God, who provided a safe dwelling place for the eternal Word, bless this chalk, the homes of the faithful, and the people who live there, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
And the chalk is sprinkled with Holy Water.
The Chalking of the Door
Leadership may be shared with a change of voice at each Leader’s part.
Leader: At the end of these days of Christmastide, we keep this Feast of Epiphany. We celebrate Christ made known to the Magi, to John in the River Jordan, and to the disciples at the wedding in Cana. Today Christ is made known to us! Today this home is a holy place!
Leader: Peace be to this house and to all who enter here.
Leader: Let us pray. O God, who by the guidance of a star didst on this day manifest Thine only-begotten Son to the Gentiles, mercifully grant that we who know Thee by faith may also attain the vision of Thy glorious majesty. Through Christ our Lord.
Leader: Be enlightened, be enlightened, O Jerusalem, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee—Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary.
All: And the Gentiles shall walk in Thy light and kings in the splendor of Thy rising, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon thee.
Take (blessed) chalk (of any color) and mark on the lintel of your front door 20 + C + M + B + 11 saying:
Leader: The Magi, C Caspar, M Melchior, B and Balthasar …came from the east to Bethlehem to adore the Lord. “They went into the house, and when they saw the child with His mother Mary, they knelt down and worshiped him. They brought out their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and presented them to Him.” [Matthew 2:11]
20 two thousand 11 and eleven years ago.
May + Christ (Christus), + our Home (Mansionem) + Bless (Benedicat) + and remain with us throughout the new year. Amen.
Leader: A reading from Proverbs 24:3-4:”Through wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established; By knowledge the rooms are filled With all precious and pleasant riches.”
Leader: A reading from Isaiah 32:16-18 : “Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, And righteousness remain in the fruitful field. The work of righteousness will be peace, And the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever. My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, In secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places, ”
Leader: Let us pray. Bless, O Lord God almighty, this home, that in it there may be health, purity, the strength of victory, humility, goodness and mercy, the fulfillment of Thy law, and thanksgiving to God the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. May this blessing remain upon this home and upon all who dwell herein. May we never forget Christ is present in the love and care we manifest to each other daily. May all who come rejoice to find Christ living among us as we seek and serve, in everyone we meet, that same Jesus who is Thine incarnate Word. Through Christ our Lord.
Leader: Lord, remember your children and teach us to pray:
All: Our Father…
People may make the sign of the cross in remembrance of their baptism.
Leader: May the Lord watch + over our going out and our coming in, from this time forth and forevermore.
God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Christ, God’s incarnation, is present in the love and care we manifest to each other in our ordinary daily lives together.
May all who come to our home this year rejoice to find Christ living among us; and may we seek and serve, in everyone we meet, that same Jesus who is thine incarnate Word, now and forever. Amen.
God of heaven and earth, thou hast revealed thine only-begotten One to every nation by the guidance of a star. Bless this house and all who inhabit it. Fill us with the light of Christ, that our concern for others may reflect thy love. We ask this through Christ our Saviour. Amen.
Loving God, bless this household. May we be blessed with health, goodness of heart, gentleness, and abiding in thy will. We ask this through Christ our Saviour. Amen.