We all know the story. The Magi arrived with their gifts via Herod’s Palace, Herod asked them to return and let them know where the infant king was. In a dream they were warned to go home another route, which they did. Joseph in another dream was told to flee to Egypt as Herod wanted to kill the Babe of Bethlehem. All this to fulfil a prophesy about the Messiah coming out of Egypt.
We all know this older story too. The Hebrews enslaved for many years in Egypt finally freed. The act that brought about that freedom, the Passover. When the Passover was instigated the Hebrews were told to mark their doorposts and lintels with the blood of the lamb they were to eat that night.
Centuries later; we aren’t sure, when, how and where, but that doesn’t really matter; centuries later the two stories collided and chalking the lintels became a custom. In more recent years it has reached these shores. Usually happening at Epiphany, probably because of the Orthodox Churches celebration of Epiphany being a bigger festival than Christmas and New Year and it being present in those lands before these. It is a time set aside to ask for God’s continual blessing upon our homes and lives.
At the service on Epiphany chalk was blessed and the church was marked, those present were able to take home a piece of chalk to chalk their own homes. Geoff will explain the custom to those who attend Church on Sunday 9th January and you too will have the opportunity to take home a piece of chalk and join in. There is a gallery of members of the congregations chalking below, please feel free to send in your own photo to be added.
Mark the lintel of your door, or your door post, or porch step as follows:
20 + C + M + B + 22
The Blessing itself is encompassed in the year, The C M B stand for Christus Mansionem Benedicat – Christ bless this home, the + are the symbol of blessing.
You may use this prayer afterwards if you wish.
May Christ bless our home and remain with us throughout the year. Visit, O blessed Lord, this place with the gladness of your presence. Bless all who worship and visit here with the gift of your love; and grant that we may manifest your love to each other and to all whose lives we touch. May we grow in grace and in the knowledge and love of you; guide, comfort, and strengthen us in peace, O Jesus Christ, now and forever. Amen.