Chalking the Door
On the Epiphany of Our Lord, January 6, family and friends can gather at the main entrances to homes or apartments (nursing home quarters, extended care facility, hospital rooms!), and ask God’s blessing on their dwellings and on all who live or visit there. The following prayer service will be a very memorable experience for all in the family and a wonderful reminder that in our homes and lives we seek the blessings of Jesus.
Leadership in these prayers may be shared with a change of voice at each Leader’s part (L).
Leader: Peace be to this house and to all who enter here.
Leader: A reading from Proverbs: “By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.”
Leader: Let us pray: Gracious God, as a shining star once guided the magi to the birthplace of the infant Jesus, so enable those who dwell here to be your light in the world; through Jesus Christ we pray.
Using chalk (hence, “Chalking the Door”), people are invited to inscribe the lintel of the home (the horizontal frame above the door) with the inscription shown below.
The letters C M B come from the traditional (9th century) names for the “three kings” — Caspar, Melchior & Balthazar.
Some also suggest “Christus Mansionem Benedicat” which means “May Christ bless this dwelling!”
Each person is afforded a turn to make one or more of the marks:
20 + C + M + B + 20
Leader: A reading from Isaiah: “The effect of righteousness is peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and quiet places.”
People may join hands or extend their hands outward and upward (the orans position) for the prayers.
Leader: Let us pray: Sovereign God, we pray that you will bless this home and all who live here with your gracious presence, that your love may be our inspiration, your wisdom our guide, your truth our light, and your peace our benediction; through Jesus Christ we pray.
Leader: Lord, remember your children and teach us to pray (pray the Lord’s Prayer from memory):
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.