This past Sunday, in addition to being New Year's Day, was the Sunday that we celebrated Epiphany. There were few children present, but with those who were, we blessed the church at 3120 NE 125th St in a new-to-me tradition using chalk colored chalk and the initials of the wise men who visited Jesus two millenia ago.
Now, the wise visitors may have been three - or fewer or more - we know they brought three gifts. They may have been advisers to kings, although they were almost certainly not kings themselves, in spite of what songs and stories say. We do not know their names, but tradition has dubbed them Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. They were philosophers, students of scripture, history and culture, who saw a star, read old prophesies and made a connection.
They did, as the song says, 'traverse afar' and they were strangers in a strange land when they were received into the home of Mary and Joseph and Jesus. When we chalk their initials onto our door frames, we bless our door with the prayer that we too may be gracious to visitors, that those who come may bring blessing and be blessed, that we may offer hospitality in the manner of the holy family, and that visitors to our homes may find safe harbor in their coming in and in their going out.
A variation on the prayer below is what I used in worship and what i send home on cards with the children and others from the congregation who wanted to chalk their own doors. You can be certain that it is a wonderful novelty for kids and adults alike to be given permission to write on the walls.
Door and Chalk Blessing:
God of doors and homes, bless this home this year and every year.
Bless all who come and go through this door, both those who live here and those who visit.
May all who enter through this door come in peace and bring joy.
May all who come to this door find welcome and love.
May the love and joy in this home overflow and spread into the community and the world.