Chalk it up on Epiphany

A happy and blessed feast of the Epiphany to you. There is a tradition, which seems to have arisen in central Europe in the Middle Ages, of blessing chalk at Epiphany, which is then used by families to mark the doorways of their homes. It is, near the New Year, a prayer for and celebration of Christ’s blessing. This tradition is becoming increasingly common everywhere, and among many denominations.

What surprised me, on looking for texts to use, is that there don’t seem to be that many around. So in this short Epiphany post, I thought I would first of all summarise the practice, and then provide a simple form of prayer, both for the chalk blessing, and then the prayers at home.

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How should we pray in public about the election?

Elections pose even more problems than usual for people who prepare and lead prayers in their churches. That is never more true than in situations like the present: divided politics, polarised societies, and partisan journalism. There is a sense that the skeleton that has largely underpinned the body politic is, if not exactly broken, in a state of advanced osteoporosis.

So what should those who lead prayer say, if they are to enable the church as a whole to agree in prayer? The problem is that the phrases that unite are often sufficiently anodyne to disguise a multitude of meanings.

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