Wednesday, February 17, 2021

When Ash Wednesday Meets Epiphany


You may or may not be aware of the Epiphany tradition of "Chalking the Door", but it's been something I've done for the past two years here at Boone Memorial Presbyterian Church. 

The Faded 2020 Blessing back in December

A Fresh New Blessing for 2021
The idea is basically to invoke the magi who recognized Jesus as the Christ in a petition to God for blessing in the coming year.

On Epiphany this year, I did an "In Other Words" message (children's sermon) about how it may FEEL like God ignored our request for blessing in 2020, but that we'd found new ways to worship and be community in the midst of a pandemic, that we were showing love for one another through our actions, and that there was hope for the not-to-distant future; our 2020 blessings just came in a different form than we expected.

However, life being what it was, I wasn't able to track down the chalk to "re-chalk" the door on Epiphany, so the door went bare for about a month. 


I noticed this on the back door of our sanctuary building a couple of weeks ago. We have some neighborhood kids who like to play on the church's property, and they must have decided that a vertical canvas is preferrable to the sidewalk.

When I first saw it, I sort of rolled my eyes a little bit--it feels a little disrespectful to draw in chalk on the doors of a church that you don't even attend, but at the end of the day, it's not hurting anyone, and it'll wear off eventually.

But then, when I finally got around to adding the traditional blessing to our sanctuary's front door, it occurred to me that this graffiti wasn't vandalism at all. It was a blessing in disguise. 

I'm sure the child artist had never heard of the chalking tradition before, and I'm sure they had no intention other than to entertain themselves through their play. But think about what this means: this church is a place where children feel comfortable, even when they've never set foot inside before. This church is a place where joy happens. This church is lived-in and -around; this church is very much alive, even in the midst of a pandemic. And most importantly--this church doesn't belong to us at all. It belongs to God, and God can offer it to whomever God choses. 

This drawing was a reminder to me that God's blessings aren't just for those within the church's walls; they're for the whole world...and the church has a responsibility to BE the blessing, not just to receive it. Today being Ash Wednesday, it was an especially relevant reminder that the world is bigger than just us--that it began long before us and will go on long after us--but that through it all, we all belong to God.

So thank you, neighborhood kids! Thanks to you, our church building has been chalked twice this year, and we will do our best to rise to the challenge you inadvertently gave us: to be a blessing to ALL of God's creation.

No comments:

Post a Comment