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Proclamation of Easter on Epiphany 2017

deacon proclaims

There is the ancient tradition of announcing the date of Easter on the Feast of the Epiphany. In the past, when calendars were not common, it clearly had functional value to give the date and feasts dependant on the date of Easter Day. It still has value as a proclamation of the centrality of the resurrection of Christ in the liturgical year and the importance of the great mysteries of faith which are celebrated each year.

The proclamation may occur after the Gospel, homily, or after the prayer after communion [if blessing chalk (after communion), the earlier options may be preferred so as not to clutter the conclusion of the Eucharist]. It may be sung or said, by the deacon, or other(s).

Here is a version for two lectors. It can be adapted in a number of ways – including being proclaimed by one lector. You also might use it, for example, on a Sunday rather than (or as well as) on the Feast of the Epiphany.

Lector 1
Dear brothers and sisters, the glory of the Lord has shone upon us, and shall ever be manifest among us, until the day of his return.
Through the rhythms of times and seasons let us celebrate the mysteries of salvation.

Lector 2
Let us recall the year’s culmination, the Easter Triduum of the Lord: his last supper, his crucifixion, his burial, and his rising celebrated between the evening of the thirteenth day of April and the evening of the fifteenth day of April, Easter Day being on the sixteenth day of April.

Lector 1
Each Easter — as on each Sunday — the Holy Church makes present the great and saving deed by which Christ has for ever conquered sin and death. From Easter are reckoned all the days we keep holy.

Lector 2
Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, will occur on the first day of March.

Lector 1
The Ascension of the Lord will be commemorated on the twenty-fifth day of May.

Lector 2
Pentecost, joyful conclusion of the season of Easter, will be celebrated on the fourth day of June.

Lector 1
And, this year the First Sunday of Advent will be on the third day of December.

Lector 2
Likewise the pilgrim Church proclaims the Passover of Christ in the feasts of the holy Mother of God, in the feasts of the Apostles and Saints, and in the commemoration of the faithful departed.

Lector 1
To Jesus Christ, who was, who is, and who is to come, Lord of time and history, be endless praise, for ever and ever.
Amen. [Amen. Amen.]

Click the link, for those of you interested in the Epiphany chalk house blessing.

For those who like to chant notices, there are some resources:
here; here; and here.

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Whether you regard the Christmas Season as concluding on Christmas Day, Epiphany, the Baptism of the Lord, Candlemas, the Sunday following Candlemas, or are Orthodox, or Armenian, and celebrate the Incarnation on another day and see the season differently… in the Southern Hemisphere, and certainly in Aotearoa-New Zealand, this is our go-slow time…

If you appreciated this post, do remember to like the liturgy facebook page, use the RSS feed, and signing up for a not-very-often email, …

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Epiphany Chalk House Blessing

On Epiphany (or New Year) you can bless your house. You can make this as simple or as intricate as you like; include (liturgical) greeting (eg. “The Lord be with you…”), song or carol, holy water (sprinkling door, each room), reading (eg. Epiphany Gospel, start of John’s Gospel), more prayers, Lord’s Prayer, incense, assigning parts to different members of the household, collect for Epiphany. Many homes are the dwelling for one person – the blessing of a home is equally appropriate.

Take (blessed) chalk (of any colour) and mark on the lintel of your front door 20 + C + M + B + 17 saying:

The three Wise Men,
C Caspar,
M Melchior,
B and Balthasar followed the star of God’s Son who became human
20 two thousand
17 and seventeen years ago.
++ May Christ bless our home
++ and remain with us throughout the new year. Amen.

God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Christ, God’s incarnation, is present in the love and care we manifest to each other in our ordinary daily lives together.

Other possible prayers:

May all who come to our home this year rejoice to find Christ living among us; and may we seek and serve, in everyone we meet, that same Jesus who is your incarnate Word, now and forever. Amen.

God of heaven and earth, you revealed your only-begotten One to every nation by the guidance of a star. Bless this house and all who inhabit it. Fill us with the light of Christ, that our concern for others may reflect your love. We ask this through Christ our Saviour. Amen.

Loving God, bless this household. May we be blessed with health, goodness of heart, gentleness, and abiding in your will. We ask this through Christ our Saviour. Amen.

It is in the home that the first experience of love occurs; it is there that love is nurtured and grows to maturity. The Christian home is also the ground for much of people’s spiritual growth.

The ministry of Jesus occurs in many different homes. Therefore to hallow the home as an environment for nurture and renewal, is a deeply felt need by many Christian households.

The blessing of a home encourages Christians to dedicate their life at home to God and to others.

From A New Zealand Prayer Book page 762

C M B above the door, also stands for Christus Mansionem Benedicat, Latin for “May Christ Bless this House.”

The chalk may be blessed and distributed after communion at the Epiphany or other appropriate Eucharist. Water may also be blessed and distributed at this point. Some also distribute blessed incense, where some households keep five pieces for a family Easter Candle later.

Let us pray.

Silent prayer

Loving God, bless this chalk which you have created, that it may be helpful to your people; and grant that through the invocation of your most Holy Name all those who with it write the names of your saints, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar, may receive health of body and protection of soul for all who dwell in the homes where this chalk is used, we make this prayer through Jesus the Christ. Amen.

A part of church history is the custom of blessing homes at the New Year. A family would hold a short service of prayer to ask God’s blessing on their dwellings and on all who live, work with and visit them. In this way, we invite Jesus to be a “guest” in our home, a listener to each conversation, a guide for troubled times, and a blessing in times of thanksgiving.

“Chalking the door” or the door step may be used as a way to celebrate and literally “mark” the occasion. In the Old Testament the Israelites were told to mark their doors with the blood of the lamb on the night of the Passover to ensure that the angel of death would pass them by. Deuteronomy 6: 9 says that we shall “write [the words of God] on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, … and you shall write them on the door posts of your house and on your gates.”

Chalk is made of the substance of the earth and is used by teachers to instruct and by children to play. As the image of the chalk fades, we will remember the sign we have made and transfer it to our hearts and our habits.
From the worshipwell.org

As I researched for this post, I read of “First Footing”, of Rosca de reyes, of priests wandering the streets with an assistant, going from house to house to bless them (some with incense and holy water),…

Please add variant prayers, practices, ideas in the comments.

In the Southern Hemisphere, and certainly in Aotearoa-New Zealand, this is our go-slow time… So – sometimes your comments may take longer than usual to get through moderation…

Source of images: here, here, and here

Proclamation of the date of Easter on Epiphany
(my intention is to update that for 2017 in my next post – which I intend to put up early next week).

If you appreciated this post, do remember to like the liturgy facebook page, use the RSS feed, and signing up for a not-very-often email, …

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A Brief History of Advent

Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth

Advent is a little late on the scene. The Council of Saragossa (Spain, 380AD) is the first reference to a preparatory period before celebrating the Incarnation. Fasting and daily church going was required from December 17 until Epiphany (Theophany, January 6th – the celebration of the Incarnation in those days in that and other regions).… Continue Reading

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Are The Gospels True?

Christmas in box

Friend and fellow Kiwi blogger, Peter Carrell, blogged recently about the historicity of the Gospel birth narratives (in response to a comment of mine). I hope I am fair in my summary of his post: “The invention hypothesis” would have Matthew expanding Mark’s gospel from the perspective of Joseph, while Luke does so from the… Continue Reading

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Pagan Origin of Christmas?

Winter Solstice

Around Christmas time there’s always the old saw that Christmas is essentially a pagan celebration. It’s usually said by a Christmas Grinch, or a Jehovah’s Witness, or someone with a particular agenda. The truth, possibly surprisingly, may be the other way around. The Puritan-dominated Parliament of England in 1644 banned all Christmas activities as being… Continue Reading

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Proclamation of Easter on Epiphany 2016

deacon proclaims

We can once again this year make use of the ancient tradition of announcing the date of Easter on the Feast of the Epiphany. In the past, when calendars were not common, it clearly had functional value to give the date and feasts dependant on the date of Easter Day. It still has value as… Continue Reading

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New Zealand Lectionary 2016

New Zealand Lectionary 2016

Available now online is New Zealand’s Lectionary Te Maramataka 2016 PDF (1.54 MB – click link to download). [Note – page numbers of the printed booklet may differ from the online version referred to here.] This is just a splash of comments from a quick first glance. There is much in a publication such as… Continue Reading

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