Blessing a new home
It is an old Christian custom to bless a home. Family and friends can meet for this occasion.
A pastor may be called to lead the rite, but it can also be led by some other church worker or any Christian. The blessing of a new home includes thanksgiving to God and prayer on behalf of all who live in it.
The building does not have to be new; a blessing of a new home can be conducted after a family has renovated its old home or has moved into a new address. An entire family does not have to live in a home; the home of a single person can also be blessed.
A blessing of a new home can be linked together with a housewarming party, a baptism that is performed at home, a wedding feast or some other celebration. A home can also be blessed after a family member has been baptized in a church. In multicultural families a blessing of a home can be done in more than one language. A blessing of a home can also be ecumenical, joining different Christian traditions together.
Instructions for blessing a new home (Kodin siunaaminen) can be found in the Book of Sacred Rites (Kirkollisten toimitusten kirja) and many new editions of church hymnals and family Bibles. On the Internet you can use the links listed below.
Music and the joy of doing things together
Hymns or other suitable songs are sung together during the blessing of a home. The hymn of thanksgiving should be from the church hymnal. Hymns with themes of family, thanksgiving and blessing are good, and children's hymns are also suitable if there are children participating. Special seasons and festivals of the church year have hymns of their own that can be used if a home is blessed at such a time.
Suitable songs can also be found in the appendix of newest editions of the church hymnal (numbers 830 to 832 in the Finnish-language hymnal or number 750 in the Swedish-language hymnal).
Tasks in the blessing of a home can be divided among those who participate. Family members and friends can take turns leading prayer and reading Bible verses. A prayer of intercession can be prepared together, writing down topics that are important to those who take part.
A simple altar can be made at home
A simple altar table can be prepared with children's help: a table is covered with a white cloth, and then a Bible or cross can be placed on it with flowers and a candle. If the children are small, a song that they know can be practiced to be sung instead of an opening hymn.
The words of blessing are the climax of this rite. The one who pronounces them memorizes them by heart. In saying "In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" he/she can make a sign of the cross.
A program can be made on paper and copied to make participation easier. The order of service and the words of prayers and hymns that are to be read or sung together are written in the program. Afterwards, the blessing of the home can be recorded in the family Bible.
Order of service when blessing a home
- An opening hymn or some other music
- Invocation ("In the name of the Father and of…") and introductory words
- Psalm or hymn
- Scripture reading (one or more passages)
- [at this point, more hymns can be sung, and a pastor or speaker may deliver a short message]
- Words of blessing and a prayer of intercession
- The Lord's Prayer ("Our Father…")
- Hymn of thanksgiving
- Concluding music