Warming the House: a Liturgy for Home

“Home is the nicest word there is.”
― Laura Ingalls Wilder

flowers on silverI regard our home as a place of refuge, retreat and sanctuary, and I’m also one to mark milestones with those I love. As far as i’m concerned, we will always keep a bottle of sparkling wine around so that we can celebrate the moments worth celebrating!

Liturgy, or a ceremony dedicating your home for the purposes you’ve been thinking about — and depending on your thoughts on theological spiritual matters, to the service of God — is what we’re talking about today. For us, prayer is one of the spiritual practices that helps us reflect on the purposes of our lives, the values with which we seek to guide our lives, and the way we encourage and support each other.

Liturgy (leitourgia) is a Greek composite word meaning originally a public duty: a service to the state undertaken by a citizen.Although originally meaning a ceremony or formulation and though the definition incorporating both “public” and a “duty,” it doesn’t need to be either. It is really just a shorthand phrase for talking about a spiritual observation (or discipline if you were). You might be more familiar with its use in the context of the usual course of a christian church service which is how it is most commonly used now. It’s not a word you’ll find in the usual conversation — unless you have the kind of nerdy friends that I do!

One of my favourite books for home worship, especially in light of our complex and changing schedules is the thoughtful Book of Common Prayer for Ordinary Radicals by Shane Claiborne, Jonathon Wilson-Hartgrove, and Enuma Okoro. I also recomment A Place at the Table:
Liturgies and Resources for Christ Centered Hospitality by Dilly Baker.

IMAG2717Here’s a liturgy I have adapted from a variety of sources — most are noted — that can be used at any time, including when you first move into a new home, when you are preparing to leave, or just as a form of thanksgiving! I’ve rewritten them — it was once my job to write liturgy, so this was a welcome return to those times. I hope they are helpful to your family, just as they are to us.

You might want to also think about annointing your lintels with oil or using fragrant incense or lighting candles as you reflect. Each of these practices have extensive historical bases within the Christian tradition.

 

For a New Home

This prayer may be used as a prayer for a new home or at a time of celebration or welcoming a new member of the household. (1)

“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” – Joshua 24:15

May God give blessing
To this house and all who come here.
May Jesus give blessing
To this house and all who come here.
May Spirit give blessing
To this house and all who come here.
May all who come here give blessing
To this house and to all they meet here.
Both roof and frame
Both brick and beam.
Both window and timber
Both foot and head.
Both gate and door
Both coming and going.
Both man and woman
Both parent and child.
Both young and old
Both wisdom and youth.
Both guest and host
Both stranger and friend.
Peace on each window that lets in light
Peace on each corner of the room.
Peace on each place that ushers sleep
Peace on each plate that cradles food.
Peace of the Father, Peace of the Son
Peace of the Spirit, Peace of the One.

Here is an alternative prayer (or companion) to the one above. (2)

May this home be glowing with warmth
in the chill of winter
And a cooling shade
in the heat of the summer sun,
May it be a place
where one awakes with eagerness,
And a haven from stress,
when the work of the day is done.

May God, our Mother,
safely cradle this house in her strong arms,
And breathe the comfort of her love
through every room.

May God, our Father, fire the minds
of those who dwell here with hopeful dreams
And give them the strength
to make those dreams come true.

May God, our Companion,
fill this home with laughter
And weave a satisfying peace
in times of solitude.

May the cupboards be forever full,
And the table spread with welcome cheer.
May friends come often through the door,
But yet the need for privacy
be respected here.

May the wild beauty of God,
May the indwelling peace of God
May the surprising mystery of God
Inhabit this home.

Amen.

House Warming Liturgy

One way to celebrate a house warming, is for a liturgy to take the form of a small group moving through the home. You can do this with friends and neighbors, or with just the members of your household taking part. You could light a candle to carry with you, or carry an important example of your faith journey with you.

Doorway (5)

“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” – Joshua 24:15

May God give a blessing to this house.

God bless this house from roof to roof,
from wall to wall;
from end to end,
from its foundation and in its covering.

In the strong name of the triune God,
all disturbance cease,
captive spirits freed,
God’s spirit alone
dwell within these walls,

We call upon the Sacred Three,
to save, sheld, and surround
this house, this home,
this day, this night,
and every night.

In the Entrance or Foyer

We Declare: “The LORD will protect you as you come and go, now and forever.”

Blessed are you, Welcoming God.
May all be welcomed here, friend and stranger, from near and far.
May each be blessed and honoured as they enter.
May all who come to this door, come in peace,
and guard it, we pray, from any who come in hostility.
May every grudge or malice be left at the door,
and may those who brought them be so touched by grace here,
that they forget to collect them when they leave.

By the cleansing fire of your Holy Spirit, bring your spirit of hope, faith, and love to this door.
May it transform any difficulties into inspirations for justice, freedom and peace.
We call upon the father, son, and holy spirit to save, shield, and surround this house, this home,
this day, this night and every night.
Amen.

In the Lounge or Living Room

We Declare: “How wonderful it is, how pleasant, when God’s people live together in harmony.”

Blessed are you, Gracious God, for you have provided this place for unwinding and enjoying company.
Give your blessing to all who share this room, that they may find joy in their relaxation, and always be generous and authentic hosts.
Lord, kindle in our hearts a flame of love for our neighbours, for those we do not care for, for our friends, and kindred all.
May all who gather here be knit together in fellowship on earth, and find a first taste here of the communion of your saints in heaven.

By the cleansing fire of your Holy Spirit, may this place be one of joy, laughter, friendship and community.
May you transform each person who dwells here, and create a legacy of justice, freedom, and peace as you help us all to seek Good.

In the Kitchen

We Declare: “I am going to give you grain and wine and olive oil, and you will be satisfied.

Be glad, and rejoice at what the LORD your God has done for you.”

Blessed are you, Plentiful God, for you supply our every need according to your great riches.
May this kitchen always be filled with the produce of the earth,
and may the preparations here be filled with pleasure and love.
Bless the hands that work in this place,
and fill us with gratitude for your provision.

May we welcome the poor, and honour them.
May we welcome the sick and care for them.
May we always be mindful of being in the presence of angels.
We ask you God, to bless and embrace us all.

By the cleansing fire of your Holy Spirit,
May this place be one of nourishment of creativity, and of health.
Create in this place a legacy of inspiration for justice, freedom and peace.
Bless this place with abundance and the knowledge of your love.
Amen.

In the Dining Room

Hear the Word of God:
“You will have plenty to eat, and be satisfied.
You will praise the LORD your God who has done wonderful things for you.”

Blessed are you, Inviting God,
for you welcome us at your table and call us to share in the banquet of life,
giving us food and drink to sustain our lives and make our hearts glad.
Fill us with gratitude for all you give us and with a hunger to hasten the day
when all the world will enjoy such blessings.

Seeing a stronger approach, may we put the food in the eating place,
and look with joy for the blessing from those whom often comes to our homes as the least of these.
Amen.

 

In the Bathroom

Hear the Word of God:
“I will sprinkle clean water on you
and make you clean.”

Blessed are you, Creative God, for you made us as whole persons — bodies, minds and spirits —and you called us good.
Give us a love for our bodies, keeping them clean and healthy, so that we may glorify you in them,
as we confidently wait for you to clothe us in robes of righteousness.

Help us to love ourselves as you love us.
We call upon God, Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit,to save,
shield and surround this house, this house,this day, this night, and every night.
Amen.

In a Couple’s Bedroom

Hear the Word of God:
“You will be happy together,
drink deep,
and lose yourselves in love.”

Blessed are you, Passionate God,
for when you join two people
in a covenant of love and desire,
they are no longer two but one.
Bless those who lie down here,
with a holy passion and delight in their loving,
and with deep rest in their sleeping,
that they may rise to serve you
all the days of their life.

Peace be here in the name of the King of life;
the peace of Christ above all peace,
the Lord’s blessing over this couple here.Peace between person and person.Peace between lovers, in the name of the love of the Kind of life.Peace between ___________ and _______________.The peace of Christ above all peace.

In a Single Adult’s Bedroom (6)

Hear the Word of God:
“You will lie down and go to sleep in peace;
for the LORD keeps you perfectly safe.”

Blessed are you, Sheltering God,
for you are the true rest of your people
and you cover each person with the soft shelter of your wings.
Bless to your people their hours of rest and refreshment,
that sleeping they might rest in peace,
and waking they may rise to serve you all the days of their life.

May God be the guardian of this place, and bring his peace,
that fear may find no entry here.
May Christ be a chosen companion and may friends be plentiful.
May lonliness be banished.
May the Spirit bring laughter and lightnerss, and be the comforter of tears.
Courage be at each going out;
rest be present at each return;
each day, each night,
each going our and each returning.

Peace be here in the name of the King of life;
the peace of Christ above all peace,
the Lord’s blessing over ____________ here.
By the cleansing fire of your Holy Spirit,
make this a place of rest, hope, and peace.

May those who sleep here, be restored and healed.
may their dreams serve as inspirations for justice, freedom and peace.
We call upon the father, son, and holy spirit to save, shield, and surround this sleeping woman/man, this home,
this day, this night and every night.
Amen.

In a Young Child’s Bedroom

Hear the Words of Jesus:
“Let the children come to me,
and do not stop them;
because the kingdom of heaven
belongs to such as these.”

Blessed are you, Tender God,
for your Son took young children into his arms and blessed them.
Embrace the child/children whose room this is
with your unfailing love,
protect ___________ from all danger,
and __________ in safety to each new day,
until she/he/they greets with joy
the great day of your kingdom.

By the cleansing fire of your Holy Spirit,
make this a place of rest, hope, and peace.
May those who sleep here, be restored and healed.
may their dreams serve as inspirations for justice, freedom and peace.
We call upon the father, son, and holy spirit to save, shield, and surround this sleeping child, this home,
this day, this night and every night.
Amen.

In an Older Child’s Bedroom (7)

(to be said by the parent if possible):
Peace be here in the name of the King of Life;
the peace of Christ above all peace,
the Lord’s blessing over you.
I pray for ________________;
______________, may the joy and peace of heaven be with you.

The Lord bless you.
The joy of God be in thy face,
joy to all who see thee,
the circle of God around thee,
angels of God shielding thee.
Joy of night and day be thine, joy of sun and moon be thine;
joy of men and women be thine.
Let every season be happy, bright, and glad.
By the cleansing fire of your Holy Spirit,
make this a place of rest, hope, and peace.
May those who sleep here, be restored and healed.
may their dreams serve as inspirations for justice, freedom and peace.
We call upon the father, son, and holy spirit to save, shield, and surround this sleeping one, this home,
this day, this night and every night.
Amen.

In a Guest Room

We Declare: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers,
for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.”

Blessed are you, Hospitable God,
for you have taught us to welcome one another as you have welcomed us.

In simplicity and joy, and as saints before us have welcomed the poor,

may peace be found wherever the door is opened.
Bless those who share the hospitality of this home,
that this may be a place of shelter, healing, comfort, peace, and love.

Peace be here in the name of the King of life;
the peace of Christ above all peace,
the Lord’s blessing over the guest who sleep here.
By the cleansing fire of your Holy Spirit,
make this a place of rest, hope, and peace.

May those who sleep here, be restored and healed.
may their dreams serve as inspirations for justice, freedom and peace.
We call upon the father, son, and holy spirit to save, shield, and surround this sleeping woman/man, this home,
this day, this night and every night.
Amen.

In a Work Room/Study/Office

Hear the Words of Jesus:
“Like the days of a tree
shall the days of my people be,
and my chosen shall long enjoy
the work of their hands.”

Blessed are you, Creator God,
for your Son Jesus sanctified our labour
as he crafted wood with his hands.
Be present, we pray, with those who work in this place,
that, labouring as workers together with you,
they may share the joy of creation.

By the cleansing fire of your Holy Spirit,
make this bedroom a place of hope and peace.
Transform any legacy of fear or despair
into inspirations for justice, freedom and peace.

Concluding Prayers and Blessing (4)

We dedicate this house to you
and your work as the God of Peace.
May it be a place of joy, laughter and freedom,
A place of renewal and refreshment
for those who are weary,
A place of hope
for those who have become disillusioned,
A place of healing and comfort
for those broken and hurt,
A place of forgiveness
for those who seek a new way of life,
A place of encouragement
for those who hunger and thirst
for peace and justice,
A place of vision and inspiration
for all those who seek a new and better way
for our country and our world.
A place of creativity and making
For those who seek to see the world with new eyes.

Let us gather up our prayers
into the prayer our Lord taught us:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those
who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.
For the Kingdom, the power
and the glory are yours
Now and for ever. Amen.

May the eye of God be dwelling with you;
The foot of Christ in guidance with you;
The shower of the Spirit pouring on you;

Christ, in our coming and in our leaving,
the door and the keeper;
for us and our dear ones,
this day and every day;
blessings always.
And be the Sacred Three —
To save, to shield, to surround
The hearth, the house, the household,
This day, this night
and every day and night.
Amen . (3)

 

References

(1) Prayer from the Iona Community, published in Human Rites: Worship Resources for an Age of Change edited by Hannah Ward and Jennifer Wild, London: Mowbray, 1995., p.76-77

(2) Prayer by Jean Gaskin, published in Human Rites: Worship Resources for an Age of Change compiled by Hannah Ward and Jennifer Wild, London: Mowbray, 1995, p.91

(3) Traditional Celtic Blessing, published in Human Rites: Worship Resources for an Age of Change compiled by Hannah Ward and Jennifer Wild, London: Mowbray, 1995, p.78

(4) Adapted from the Dedication Prayer from the Corrymeela Community, published in Human Rites: Worship Resources for an Age of Change
compiled by Hannah Ward and Jennifer Wild, London: Mowbray, 1995, p.90

(5) Book of Common for Ordinary Radicals, p 546.

(6) Book of Common for Ordinary Radicals, p 548.

(7) Book of Common for Ordinary Radicals, p 549-550.

 

Listening. Observing. Participating. Writing. Photographing. Reflecting.

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Anna Blanch_Gill Gamble_blogAnna Blanch Rabe is an Australian-born writer and photographer. You can follow her adventure on Not A Pedestrian Life, or Facebook. More of her photography can be viewed here. For more domestic things take a look at Quotidian Home or her previous website, Goannatree.

This is Day 4 of 31 days to Making a House a Home. The Introductory post is here.31 Button

Day 1 is House v Home. Day 2 is You gotta know what you want to get what you want.

Day 3 is Say Welcome at the Door

This is the first 31 days series published on Quotidian Home.