Chalk One Up
A part of church history is the custom of blessing homes during Epiphany. By doing so, we invite Jesus to be a guest in our home, a listener to each conversation, a guide for troubled times, and a blessing in times of thanksgiving.
“Chalking the door” or the door step may be used as a way to celebrate and literally mark the occasion. In the Old Testament the Israelites were told to mark their doors with the blood of the lamb on the night of the Passover to ensure that the angel of death would pass them by. Deuteronomy 6: 9 says that we shall “write [the words of God] on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house … and you shall write them on the door posts of your house and on your gates.”
Chalk is made of the substance of the earth. As the image of the chalk fades, we will remember the sign we have made and transfer it to our hearts and our habits.
Typically, blessed chalk is used to write: 20+C+M+B+15 above the doorways or on the steps: 20 for the century; C, M, B for the 3 Magi (Casper, Melchior, and Balthasar) and for Christus Mansionem Benedicat, (Latin for “May Christ Bless this House)” and 15 for the year.
Chalk will be blessed during our regular service on January 11, 2015. Each household may take a packet with chalk and suggestions for prayers and markings to welcome and invite the Christ in each who crosses the threshold.