20 + C + M + B + 20

The more observant worshippers on January 5th 2020 may have entered the Church and noticed a chalked ‘code’ on the threshold to our building. “But what does it mean?” one of our members asked me.

At the meeting of the Presbytery of Glasgow in December 2019, the Moderator, Rev. Dan Carmichael (Minister of Lenzie Union Church) invited every congregation to gather at the front steps of their Church building on Sunday 5th January and pray a blessing on everyone who would cross the threshold of their building in 2020. Now I did not ask everyone to gather – we would have obscured the image and I am not sure we would have all fitted. However, as I pen this article, the chalk mark, though fading, remains. This is a reminder of the prayer of blessing which can be used at this time (see over).

But what of the code? 20 + C + M + B + 20 indicates the year and the blessing ‘Christus Mansionem Benedicat’ (May Christ bless this house).

This is a variation of an old European Epiphany tradition, when the priest, pastor or a group from the Church visit the homes in their parish and pray such a blessing. There is also an allusion to the traditional names of the three wise men, Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar, whose visit to Christ’s childhood home is celebrated at Epiphany.

So, as we come and go into our Church I hope each of us may find this prayer of blessing helpful:

Blessed Lord Jesus,
visit this house with the gladness of your presence.
Bless all who gather or visit here with the gift of your love
and grant that we manifest your love to each other
and all whose lives we touch.
May we all grow in grace,
in the knowledge of your love and in the love of you,
and may your peace be found among us, now and forever.