Tomorrow evening one of my dearest friends, the Rev. Eric Hungerford, will bless our new home. House blessings are one of those strange things that priests do. Why are announcing God’s blessing on things and not people?
The blessing of places and buildings has a long history in Anglicanism. In the most recent edition of the journal, “Anglican & Episcopal History” there is a long article about the service of blessing the new Trinity Chapel at Lincoln’s Inn in London in the 1620s. The famous poet and priest John Donne preached at the service. In his sermon, he said that “we sanctify the walls of this chapel, so that those who worship here may be sanctified” (I’ve paraphrased, obviously).
When I bless houses, and I pray that when our house is blessed, it is Maggie and I who will be sanctified. In the same way, I pray that when people enter Holy Comforter, they can sense God’s Spirit resting in the building, and that same Spirit will dwell in them.
Sure, Eric will be blessing our home; but we hope that the blessing will dwell in us.