Aaron and I have moved to a new church, meaning we also have a new house. As we have struggled with such grief especially this last year, we wanted to bless our new home, to claim the space for good. It will be years before everything is unpacked enough for a house warming party. So we decided to ask our friends and family to come and bless our house now, knowing their presence will make it more a home than unpacking anyway. What follows was created by me using liturgy and inspired by conversation led by Rev. Suzanne Duchesne for a group she calls the Luscious Ladies of Liturgy.
(Set up altar outside)
Gathering (by the trees)
Beloved friends, we come together to seek God's blessing upon this house that it may become a home for us, and a much-needed sanctuary, as the past few years have been so difficult.
Other places have been home for us before, but this is the first we have chosen and indebted ourselves to. We bring pieces of those homes to this one in our hearts and hands as we make this into our home. And we also bring some dirt from those places!
In the second creation story in the book of Genesis, humans are created out of dirt. The name Adam in Hebrew means something like earth creature. The word human has the same root as the word humus--- the type of soil not the chickpea kind. And when we die and are buried, we commit our bodies back to the ground, earth to earth, ashes to ashes. We are creatures of the dirt.
At our wedding, we read a poem by J.R.R. Tolkien about becoming deep rooted in the soil of life together.
Contemporary Reading A Poem by J.R.R. Tolkien1
Lo! young we are and yet have stood
like planted hearts in the great Sun
of Love so long (as two fair trees
in woodland or in open dale
stand utterly entwined, and breathe
the airs, and suck the very light
together) that we have become
as one, deep-rooted in the soil
of Life, and tangled in sweet growth.
Now we remember the dirt that formed us at the same time we look forward to deepening our roots in this same dirt together. (Pour out dirt under the trees.)
We are also creatures of the water. As Christians, we are born again through water and the Spirit. This new birth is full of new possibilities, recognizing God's grace constantly at work in our lives, all around us, luring the good. Dirt reminded us of our creator; water reminds us of our redeemer, working in us to make us a new creation. Aaron's friend from work gave him a gift of Holy Water from the river Jordan, where Jesus himself was baptized. We will sprinkle this water throughout the house, making it a space of new creation as well.
Blessing (outside the door)
As we open this door we may open ourselves to the fullness God calls us to be and that these walls provide support and safety for us to have the courage to be creative and discover our authentic selves.
May this roof may provide not only shelter but sanctuary,
and this foundation ground us in our relationship with God and one another.
May this become a sacred place full of praise and thanksgiving where our bodies and souls might be fed and made whole.2
Let us pray.
Loving One grant to this home the grace of your presence, that you may be known to inhabit this dwelling and touch those who come here, that your presence may be known through us. We pray this in the one in whom we live and move and have our being. Amen.
(Anoint the door with Holy Water as we enter.)
(Stop before the fireplace.)
As Christians, we are Trinitarian, and we've talked about our Creator and Redeemer, but we haven't mentioned our Sustainer. The Holy Spirit is our advocate and our comforter in scripture, the Spirit is the one who pours power into us. And the Holy Spirit enables us to keep working even when it is hard. We are asking that for the last piece of this ritual, you become the sustainers of the blessing, adding your own blessing either just through prayer going room to room or by adding a written blessing on a post-it note.
Let us pray:
Holy Spirit, swirl throughout this home, into every corner, underneath all the furniture, and into our hearts. Help us to claim this space for beauty and love in all that we do. Through the breaths of our prayers and the words on these post-it notes, let us mark this home as yours. Amen.
In the name of the Triune God who offers us grace upon grace, the one who created us from earth, offers us new life through water, and sustains us in our journey through the Spirit,
we consecrate this home,
we consecrate this home,
committing to God's love and care all who dwell therein, that they might take that love and care out into the world and share it wherever they go.
Please go forth and add your blessing to the house, either on the post-its or in your hearts, and make sure you get something to eat!
Receive this blessing:
Let us remember that not just this place, but everywhere we go is a sanctuary--- all of creation, this planet, even our very bodies are holy places filled with the presence of God. So let us go forth walking differently upon the earth, moving not only with reverence but also with joy!3
(Offer the children bubbles and holy water to anoint the whole house with and allow the adults to help them or just add their blessings on the post-its.)
2Prayer written by the Luscious Ladies of Liturgy, 2017.
3Adapted from Jeff Ramsland, Calls to Worship for Native American Ministries Sunday, Posted with Permission on the Discipleship Ministries Worship website, 2009, accessed 27 June 2017, https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/21st-century-worship-resources-for-native-americanministries-sunday