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Epiphany 2015

Epiphany- a season of light.... 
Today is Epiphany 
which marks the Season of Light. 

Since I have a meeting for work tonight, 
we pulled out our annual "chalking the door" liturgy last night 
and carried on this tradition for Epiphany. 
Over the years, it has become one of my favorite gatherings around our table. 
Each year on Epiphany, a member of our family will use a piece of chalk and will write on our door. This year, Anna wrote the following on our doorframe:
20 C M B 15

My friend Kristin Kinser wrote the following and shared it with me at St. B's in Nashville when we were there: "This is a Christian tradition that has been around since the Middle Ages. January 6th happens to be Epiphany when we remember the visit of the kings, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. Or some say that C M B stands for Christus Mansionem Benedicat, May Christ bless this house.  The numbers represent the year, 2015. 

Christ’s first home was a humble stable where shepherds came, at the bidding of angels, to worship the newborn king.  The wise men followed a strange star in order to worship the One who was more than worthy of the precious gifts they brought. 

That was 2000 years ago. Now, the risen Christ lives in us. Our very lives are the places that Jesus makes his home.  When we invite a guest into our house we have the opportunity to be Christ to them.  Whether it is through the hospitality of a meal, a place to sleep, a listening ear, or a cup of sugar, we have the opportunity to share the heart of God with those who pass through our doors.

The tradition of “chalking the door” is a way of marking our homes, usually at the front or main entrance, with sacred signs and symbols as we remember those who have passed through our doors in the past year and ask God's blessing upon those who will pass through in the coming year.  Just as the wise men followed the star until they found Jesus, we pray that those who come into our home would also encounter Jesus." 

Anna and Taylor used chalk on this chalkboard frame too to mark the new year... 

The following liturgy is offered as a way to participate in the meaningful tradition of “chalking the door.”  My favorite part is when we stop to remember and name all the people we can remember who came through our doors in 2014 and then prayed that our home would be a light to those who come here in 2015.  

A Blessing of the Home
(L=Leader,  C=Community)
L: The Lord is with you;
C: And also with you.
All: Peace be to this house and to all who live, work, and visit here.
L: Let’s take a moment to remember the friends and family who have passed through our door during the past year and give thanks to God for them.
C: (say the names of friends and family who have visited)
L: The three wise men came to Bethlehem in search of the Lord. They brought to him precious gifts: gold to honor the newborn king, incense to the true God in human form, and myrrh to anoint his body, which one day would die like our own.
L: Let us pray. O God, you once used a star to show to all the world that Jesus is your Son. May the light of that star that once guided wise men to honor his birth, now guide us to recognize him also, to know you by faith, and to see you in the epiphanies of the daily experiences of our lives.
L: Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord — Jesus born of Mary — shall be revealed.
C: And all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.
All: As the Wise Men once sought your brilliant light, O Lord, so may we seek to live and work in your splendor.
L: O God of Light, bless this (our) house and this (our) family. May this be a place of peace and health. May each member of this family cultivate the gifts and graces you have bestowed, dedicating our talents and works for the good of all.
L: Make this house a shelter in the storm and a haven of rest for all in need of your warmth and care. And when we go out from this place, may we never lose sight of that Epiphany star.
C: As we go about our work, our study, our play, keep us in its light and in your love.
A Blessing of the Chalk for Marking the Door
L: Lord Jesus, through your Incarnation and birth in true human form, you have made all the earth holy. We now ask your blessing upon this simple gift of your creation — chalk. We use it as a tool to teach our children, and they use it as a tool in their play and games. Now, with your blessing, may it become a tool for us to mark the doors of our home with the symbols of your wise servants who, so long ago, came to worship and adore you in your first home.
People in turn mark the doorway with one or more of the symbols:
20 C M B 07
L: May we, in this house, and all who come to visit, to work, and to play, remember these things throughout the coming year. May all who come and go here find peace, comfort, joy, hope, love, and salvation, for Christ has come to dwell in this house and in these hearts. All: May we be Christ's light in the world. Amen.   [i]

[i] Copyright © 1999. The General Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church. Used by permission.


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