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Epiphany Chalk

2009 December 29
by Gordon Reid

Of course I will bless gold, frankincense and myrrh on January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord, or “The Manifestation of Our Lord to the Gentiles” as the Prayer Book puts it. But I shall also be blessing chalk and then distributing it to the faithful.

Why? Well, so that they can write blessed words with it, of course! The chalk is meant to be taken home and used to write over the door of your house these symbols:

20 + G + M + B + 10

This is done not just to mystify your neighbours – though it will certainly do that – but to invoke the blessing of God, through the intercession of the three Kings, Gaspard, Melchior and Balthazar, on your house and all who live there in the year ahead. So their initials are put in between the figures of the year’s date.

This is the prayer to be said when the symbols are chalked up:

“O Lord, holy Father, almighty, everlasting God, we beseech thee to hear us: and vouchsafe to send thy holy Angel from heaven, to guard and cherish, to protect and visit, and evermore defend all who dwell in this house. I call upon thy Saints, Gaspard, Melchior, and Balthazar, to protect my family and my home from every harm and danger, and I place this mark over my door to remain as a constant reminder to us and to all who enter here that my house is truly a house of the Lord. O God, make the door of my house the gateway to thine eternal Kingdom. All this we ask through Jesus Christ they Son our Lord. Amen.

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