St Paul's Parish Wokingham


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Tue Mar 2
10:03 pm

Epiphany House Blessing

There is a beautiful and ancient Christian tradition of marking the main door of a house or building with chalk that has been blessed in Church on Epiphany Sunday. It is a house blessing which reminds us of the Incarnation and invites God to be part of our home and lives in the new year that lies ahead. is a perfect thing to do which works on many different levels. It invites Christ to be with all those who live in the house or work or worship in the building. It invokes a blessing on those who come into the house and on us as we go out into the world. It is a reminder of Christ's presence in every room of the house, in every conversation, in every joy, in every disappointment, in every moment and beating heart.

It also works as a way of involving those who can't come to Church any longer in the life of the parish, and tells and shows them they are are not forgotten by the Church or by God. Even if they only leave their homes occasionally, when they do, they will see the mark of the chalk on the doorframe and remember that they are loved and remembered in turn.

It also acts as a way of starting some interesting conversations with those who come to the door and ask what the chalk marks mean. Often we wait and wait for someone to ask us what we believe or why we go to Church or what it all means or why it matters. Marking our doors offers that on a plate.

In short, it is a beautiful, corporate way of marking the Epiphany, and the New Year and the Incarnation, and the endurance of the Wise Men, and the presence of God with us always and everywhere.

What is written on the door lintel is this:

20 +C (or K) + M +B 14

The year is obvious, as are the crosses. CMB is either (or both or usually) the initials of the Wise Men who travelled to Bethlehem but it can also be read as the first letters of Christus mansionem benedicat, which means Christ bless this house. I like the fact that it means both.

There are three ways for you to get involved in this excellent and traditional event.

If you would like a group of people to come round to your house to mark the door lintel (especially if you can't get out of the house easily) then please ring the Parish Office and talk to Val.

If you would like to join a group of people walking round for about 90 minutes on the Epiphany Sunday then we will meet in the Parish Rooms car park at 1.30 and then finish up with some seasonal refreshments.

You can also just take a piece of paper with the instructions on and a piece of chalk home with you after the morning service and gather your family together and mark your door yourself.

Whatever you choose to do, I pray that, by entering into this tradition, you will know again something of the joy of Christmas and remember God's presence in your life and home always.

Fr Richard

See the pictures from the group that walked around the Parish in 2015: Epiphany 2015 Gallery