What’s with all this chalk? I’m so glad you asked! Throughout this pandemic, we have all had to alter our lives. We worship online. We work from home. We socially distance ourselves from others. To say it has been challenging is a profound understatement. We want to help you be aware of God’s presence with you, wherever you are, at your home, even if you may live alone.
So on Epiphany Sunday (January 3) Trinity observed the centuries-old tradition of the Epiphany
Blessing/Chalking of the Door. If you missed the service (which is archived online), here are some words of explanation: The Epiphany Blessing/Chalking of the Doors is indeed a centuries-old tradition that is associated with Twelfth Night celebrations and Epiphany. It is particularly popular in Great Britain and some parts of Europe but never really caught on in the USA.
Originally, priests would go by each home in the parish, bless the home and make a chalk sign on the door. When that became too cumbersome, chalk was blessed at church services and people would take it home, offer a prayer asking God to bless their home in the coming year and all whoenter it. They would then make a chalk sign on their own door.
The chalk you received on Sunday at our drive-up communion was blessed in worship on Epiphany Sunday. If you were unable to pick it up then, that’s OK–we’ve got it waiting for you by the office door! Just come by and pick it up. And if you are one of our out-of-town friends, we’ve mailed you a piece.
We invite you, if you would like, to ask God to bless your home in 2021 and all who reside there or enter there. Then you may use the chalk to make a sign for your home. It is traditionally placed on the door or doorpost but you can put it wherever you think appropriate (stoop, sidewalk, etc.). Make it large, make it small, it’s your home, do it however you want.
This is the traditional sign:
20 + C + M + B + 21
The numbers 20 and 21 signify the year, 2021. What look like plus signs are actually crosses signifying that this is a Christ-centered action. The letters C, M, and B actually have two meanings. The first is the latin phrase, Christus mansionem benedicat, which means, “Christ bless this home.” But there is also a second meaning. This is, of course, an Epiphany tradition and the three letters have also come to mean Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar, the three names traditionally (but non-Biblically) with the Wise Men who came and paid homage to Jesus.
Participate in this tradition if you wish. Feel free to toss the chalk if you do not. Either way, please know that you are an important part of Trinity, we are praying for you in these challenging times and we pray that 2021 will be a year of many blessings for you.
If you have chalked your doors, we’d LOVE to see those photos! You can drop them here or use the button below to send them our way!
Looking for even more information on this practice of chalking doors and its place within worship? Here’s an article that may help: https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/an-epiphany-blessing-of-homes-and-chalking-the-door