20 + C + M + B + 21 Blessing our homes

We all probably spent more time at home in 2020 than we intended. Now it looks as though this will be true for at least the first months of 2021.

We’ve found comfort and security at home in the face of the Coronavirus and the change it has brought. We have come more and more to see home as a refuge, a place of safety.

However it has not, and is not, always easy. Many families are not used to being together so much, and incidents of disharmony have grown, as well as mental illness. For those living in flats or cramped accommodation options are often limited. Single people have their own concerns too – not least lack of day to day meetings and seeing friends.

More than ever, as we begin a new year, there seems to be a place for saying a prayer for blessing on your home. We’ve encouraged this ancient custom for many many years and it has become very much part of our church life at St Chrysostom’s. It is a custom we share beyond our immediate Church family and into the community. We are delighted that other churches are picking up the custom too.

This year circumstances are different and we are obliged to do so many things differently. It’s important for the church to adapt to circumstances. So this year instead of blessing candles and chalk and distributing them with words of a prayer of blessing for people to take home, and instead of inviting people to ask a priest to bless their home, we are, here, simply encouraging you, dear reader, to pause and say a prayer of blessing on your home. At the same time a prayer of solemn blessing on the homes of church members and all homes of our parish will be said at the end of the Epiphany Mass in church.

It is good to have a reminder and sign of a prayer or blessing said. A traditional way is to mark the lintel or doorway of your home, outside or inside, in the traditional way. Chalk can be used. For this year the traditional marking is: 20+C+M+B+21 or if you wish to be even more traditional Roman numerals can be used: MM+C+M+B+XXI.

20 and 21 being the year. C,M,B being the initials of the names often given to the Magi (wise men) who came to Bethlehem – Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. Those initials can symbolise then welcome to visitors.

So, on the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6th) or around that day we are encouraging you to pause, with a nice cup of tea, or a glass of wine, relax, perhaps light a candle, be still in your home, perhaps light a candle and say these, or other prayers:

We’ve a special recording of a simple sung home blessing, which cantors recorded in our church. You could play this as you pause in prayer: Click here: on this link. (And you can read about this song of blessing here.)

God of heaven and earth, you revealed your only Son to every nation by the guidance of a star. Bless this home and all who live in it. May it be a place of comfort, safety and peace. We ask this through Christ who dwells among us. Amen.

Loving God, visit this home and bless it. May there be no evil here. Let your holy angels dwell here and keep all who live here in peace. May you bless us, and all whom we love, today and for evermore.    Amen.

We’ve done the blessing of homes in different forms in the past – for example using crosses from Ethiopia given by a church member – see here, or using blessed candles and a prayer card – see here.

About stchrysostoms

St Chrysostom’s is an Anglican (Church of England) parish church in Manchester, UK. We’re an inclusive, diverse and welcoming faith community rejoicing in our Anglo Catholic tradition, where people of many differing backgrounds make friends. Find our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2364267899/
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