5:30 PM Celebration of the Feast of the Epiphany--Holy Eucharist Rite II
Saturday, January 06, 2018, 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM
One of the Principal Feasts of the Church, the Epiphany is the celebration of the bringing of God's light into the world--and the tradition of God leading us to the Christ with the "Star of Bethlehem." At this service, we will celebrate Holy Eucharist with a brief homily, but we will also add a special "blessing of the Epiphany chalk," so that all present who desire may mark their doorposts or porches with the "Epiphany" blessing described below:
Using the blessed chalk mark the lintel of your front door (or front porch step) as follows:
20 + C + M + B + 17 while saying:
"The three Wise Men--Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar--followed the star of God’s Son, who became human two thousand and seventeen years ago. May Christ bless our home and remain with us throughout the new year. Amen."
Then offer the following prayer:
Visit, O blessed Lord, this home with the gladness of your presence. Bless all who live or visit here with the gift of your love; and grant that we may manifest your love to each other and to all whose lives we touch. May we grow in grace and in the knowledge and love of you; guide, comfort, and strengthen us in peace, O Jesus Christ, now and forever. Amen.
Background on "Epiphany Chalking":
The "20" and "17" represent the year (2017). The "C+M+B" represent both Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar (the three wise men) and the Latin phrase Christus mansionem benedicat, (“May Christ bless the house.”) The plus signs (“+”) represent the cross.
At times God has commanded his people to mark their doors. The Israelites marked their doors with the lamb’s blood on the night of the Passover. A similar command was given with the Shema Yisrael:
"Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart … and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates". (Deuteronomy 6:4-6, 9)
“Chalking the door” is a way to celebrate and literally mark the occasion of the Epiphany and God’s blessing of our lives and home. With time the chalk will fade. As it does we let the meaning of the symbols written sink into the depths of our hearts and be manifest in our words and actions.