After a long Christmas break it was good to be back at Emmanuel for the first Cafechurch of the new term and the New Year. As it was the start of a New Year our evening was spent thinking about Blessings. Vicky had prepared our session and as we sat drinking coffee and eating cake we were given instructions for the evening.
Some churches have a custom of blessing homes on the Feast of the Epiphany. Family and friends gather to ask God’s blessing on their homes and those who live in or visit the home. It is an invitation for Jesus to be a daily guest in our home, our comings and goings, our conversations, our work and play, our joys and sorrows.
Many of us have other places and buildings which we might not think of as our homes, but where we nonetheless spend a significant amount of time and are important in our daily lives.
Spend some time thinking about a place which you would like God to bless. This can be your home, your bedroom, kitchen, office, or anywhere, really…
Write your name and the name of the place on a piece of paper and put it in the basket on the altar. If you want to, add the type of blessing you would like God to give this place (e.g. peace, joy, productivity)
Once everyone had placed their paper in the basket we were then given the next set of instructions:
Take a piece of paper from the basket and create a blessing card for that person. Use the materials provided for inspiration. When you have finished write the name of the person on the back and place it on the altar.
On the altar along with everyone’s pieces of paper were some examples of blessing cards to help with inspiration. Everyone took a name and set off to create with the paper, pencils, scissors and crayons.
When people had finished making their cards they were placed on the altar and we then used an Epiphany Blessing for the building. this was a combination of liturgy from a number of sources including the Northumbria Community’s Celtic Daily Prayer and liturgy.co.nz
In the chapel: Blessing the chalk
Our help is the name of the Lord:
The maker of heaven and earth.
The Lord shall watch over your going out and your coming in:
From this time forth for evermore.
Let us pray.
Loving God, bless this chalk which you have created, that it may be helpful to your people; and grant that through the invocation of your most Holy Name that we who use it in faith to write upon the door of our home the names of your holy ones Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar, may receive health of body and protection of soul for all who dwell in or visit our home; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Outside the doorway
May God give his blessing on this place. God bless it from roof to floor, from wall to wall, from end to end, from its foundation and in its covering.
In the strong name of the Triune God: All evil be banished, all disturbance cease, captive spirits freed. God’s spirit alone dwell within these walls we call upon the Sacred Three to save, shield and surround this place, this day, and every day.
Using the blessed chalk mark the lintel of the front door (or front porch step) as follows: 20 + C + M + B + 16 while saying:
The three Wise Men, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar followed the star of God’s Son who became human two thousand and sixteen years ago. May Christ bless this building and remain with us throughout the new year. Amen.
In the entrance
May all be welcomed here, Friend and stranger, from near and far.
May each be blessed and honoured as they enter. There is a friend’s love in the gentle heart of the Saviour. For love of Him we offer friendship and welcome every guest
Outside the offices
May God the Father be the guardian of this place and bring His peace.
May His love be shared, and His will be found here, and peace between all people.
May the Spirit bring lightness and laughter here. May He be the strengthener and comforter in times of difficulty. May the Lord give peace but never complacency. Here may encouragement be found and relationships strengthened. Each day, every day, each going out, and each returning, The Lord bless you and keep you.
Outside the chapel/kitchen
I would welcome the poor and honour them. I would welcome the sick in the presence of angels and ask God to bless and embrace us all.
Seeing a stranger approach, I would put food in the eating place, drink in the drinking place, music in the listening place, and look with joy for the blessing of God, who often comes to this place in the blessing of a stranger.
We call upon the Sacred Three to save, shield and surround this place, this day, and every day.
Visit, O blessed Lord, this place with the gladness of your presence. Bless all who work 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
We then returned into the Chapel and were given the cards that had been made for us to take and put in the place that we wanted God to Bless.