Today in Church we chalked the lintels a wonderful tradition full of symbolism and meaning full of mission and outreach, full of joy and blessing. What is chalking the lintels I hear you cry.
Well once the magi have left for home by another route, avoiding that rapscallion Herod, leaving the gold, frankincense and myrrh behind for Mary to ponder over what to do with it; lots of people take their decorations down and pack up Christmas for another year. Indeed with twelfth night being the night before Epiphany lots have them down even before the MAgi have arrived. Of course there are those, myself included who leave at least the crib out until Candlemas (2nd February), but on the whole most homes and even churches are now bereft of any sign of Christmas.
So my one nod to their being three wise men rather than unknown numbers of Magi this is written:
20 + C + M + B + 17
The 20 and 17 either end are the year, the +’s signs of blessing. One for everyone who enters beneath (or over it), one for everyone who leaves (Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out. Deuteronomy 28:6). One + for those who live there and one for those who visit. The letters C, M, B have two meanings. They are the initials of the traditional names of the three magi: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar. They are a reminder that in offering Christ a place in our lives we are giving him our wealth, our lives and our eternity. They also abbreviate the Latin words Christus mansionem benedicat, “May Christ bless the house.”
During the year the chalk will fade and that is a reminder to us that we have to keep the message alive, it is up to us to keep telling the story even when the decorations are back in the loft and the Christmas cake is all eaten.
So at the end of the service, having blessed the chalk during the service, I got myself on a stool, balanced on the top step, and wrote above the front door of the church as I recited the prayers and John took photos praying I wouldn’t fall off.
Then I wrote above the Church Hall doors – our halls are separate the the Church.
Then the above the back door.
Then because people cut through our garden, because we are on a corner, I decided to also chalk the flag stones at each of the three entrances.
And then when I got home the Rectory was also chalked. As we have a UPVC lintel and door and white rough casting directly above that, I decided to do the door threshold.
Members of the congregation took home their own chalk to chalk their own lintels and door steps, over the coming week or so I hope they will post pictures of their chalking on All Saints Facebook page.