A new year begins for us tomorrow and on Sunday Rhythms of Grace starts a new year of of gathering and sustaining its community in following Christ in their worlds. We haven’t usually met in January and doing so offers some new possibilities. “Chalking It Up” (also known as “chalking the door”) is one of these. Below is what I’ll be offering RoGers on Sunday (which is Epiphany – meaning manifestation or appearance – Sunday when we remember the announcement of the birth of Christ to the world through the Magi or Wise Men. Despite much art to the contrary, Jesus is no longer a baby by this time.)
Chalk It Up: Blessing Your Home (Chalking the Door) Traditionally done on New Years Day, or Epiphany, or whenever works for you. Chalk will be made available on the Communion Table on Epiphany Sunday and following Sundays.
Write the inscription 20+C+M+B+21on your door, or beside it or on a piece of paper. As you write, someone says,
The three Wise Men,
(B) and Balthasar followed the star of God’s Son who became human (20) two thousand
(21) and twenty-one years ago.
(++) May Christ bless our home and all who come and go from it
(++) and the presence of God overflow it throughout this new year. Amen.
[C M B also stands for Christus Mansionem Benedicat, Latin for “May Christ Bless this House.”]
There is nothing magical here so function is form; simply an embodied reminder of your desire for the Trinitarian community of God to bless all activity and people associated with your home. (Flat or boarding house-room to mansion, single-person to multi-generational are all appropriate. Wherever you currently call “home”.)
You can add to this with other prayers, or sprinkling with water.
[In the Old Testament the Israelites were told to mark their doorposts and lintel with the blood of the sacrificed lamb on the night of the Passover to ensure that the angel of death would pass them by (Exodus 12).
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 says “write [the blessings of God] on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
In some of their rituals Māori use a small piece of tree branch dipped in water to sprinkle.]
[Footnotes for the pedants among us!!
An aspergillum is a liturgical implement used to sprinkle holy water. It comes in two common forms: a brush dipped in water and shaken, and a silver ball on a stick. The latter may have sponges or internal reservoirs that dispense water when shaken, while others need to be dipped in an aspersorium.
Disclaimer: There may not have been three Wise Men, and Jesus probably wasn’t born 0AD]
Rhythms of Grace, Epiphany 2021.