Becoming Chris Kamalski

"There's a Writer outside ourselves, plotting a better story for us" ~Don Miller

Tag: Liturgical Year

The Weekdays of Our Lives/Ordinary Time 2012.

Snap, Crackle, Pop!

Download [The Weekdays of Our Lives/Ordinary Time 2012] pdf here.

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Ash Wednesday at 3rd Place.

Lighting tea lights as a form of prayer.

Download the Ash Wednesday Liturgy I edited and helped facilitate for 3rd Place here.

“Ash Wednesday, an echo of the Hebrew Testament’s ancient call to sackcloth and ashes, is a continuing cry across the centuries that life is transient, that change is urgent. We don’t have enough time to waste on nothingness. We need to repent our dillydallying on the road to God. We need to regret the time we’ve spent playing with dangerous distractions and empty diversions along the way. We need to repent of our senseless excesses and our excursions into sin, our breaches of justice, or failures of honesty, our estrangement from God, our savoring of excess, our absorbing self-gratifications, one infantile addiction, one creature craving another. We need to get back in touch with our souls. ‘Remember man that you are dust and unto dust you shall return,’ the old Sacramentary formula warned us from God’s words to Adam and Eve, as the ashes trickled down our foreheads. We hear now, as Jesus proclaimed in Galilee, ‘Turn away from sin and believe the good news’ (Mk 1:15)” (Joan Chittister).

Love the movement in this shot. Kneeling to receive the ashen cross on one's forehead.

Amazing how beautiful barren branches can be. An apt metaphor of the soul's journey of growth.

 

Responding to the question of what we are fasting for the season of Lent.

Maxie Kamalski reading a portion of the Ash Wednesday liturgy.

 

Loved Pierre Du Plessis' comment that at times, we must 'receive' Communion as opposed to 'taking' it.

On the way to 'receive' Communion.

 

We are here (Ash Wednesday).

 

Fasting pride...

 

Ashen crosses all around!

 

A Facebook fast...appropriate! Love the potential of not finding self-worth in what is posted upon Facebook.

 

My favorite Ash Wednesday image, shot by Pierre Du Plessis. "Giving up substance abuse as distraction and a form of numbing" POWERFUL! This is why we are on mission in South Africa!

Chasing Daylight (Epiphany 2012).

I look this photo in our front yard early one morning!

 Download Chasing Daylight/Epiphany 2012 meditations written for 3rd Place here.

Chasing daylight serves as an apt metaphor to describe the climax of the Cycle of Light, the period of the liturgical year commencing with Advent, reaching a crescendo with Christmas, and concluding with Epiphany, the season to witness the light of Christ having not only entered the world through a newborn, but now dwelling within our souls and in all places on earth.

Robert Webber writes, “Now I am to be a manifestation of Christ. My part is to respond, to say yes to the calling, to commit my life to be a center through which the Epiphany could be extended beyond the crib to the world of my everyday experience” (Ancient-Future Time).

Our internal discipline is simple this month: Develop a short occasional prayer that pertains to a regular piece of your life. Invite the Spirit to engage your heart in a fresh way with a regular part of your life.

Epiphany is a particular season where we seek to chase the daylight we see within the neighbors God has place within our proximity.

 Download Chasing Daylight/Epiphany 2012 meditations written for 3rd Place here.

Christmastide (Advent has come).

Spicy, sweet coffee roasting = The smell of Christmas!

 Download the Christmas +Advent meditations here.

As sent ones, how do we extend this welcome of Christ to our neighbors that God has placed in our world?

 Download the Christmas + Advent meditations here.

CHRISTMAS DAY {25.12}: THE S[c]ENT OF CHRISTMAS

Texts: Isaiah 9:2-7; Psalm 98; Titus 2:11-14, 3:4-7; Luke 2:1-20; John 1:1-14

Mediation: The scent of Christmas: Spicy cinnamon cider, mingling with the promise of a new morning through that first glorious cup of coffee. The smells of Christmas lunch invading the entire house, promising a meal worthy of a King. Again, a metaphor much deeper than simple food and drink: Instead, an invitation to welcome the (gentle) invasion of Jesus into our world, a promise through an infant that reaches far greater than we can imagine or conceive. For it is “in Advent that we celebrate the beginning and ending of Christ’s victory over the powers of evil, and we call upon God to accomplish that victory in our own lives, to break in on us, to be born in our hearts, and to create us anew. This is the message of Isaiah to us: a Savior is coming not only to Israel but to the whole world” (Robert Webber). As sent ones, how do we extend this welcome of Christ to our neighbors that God has placed in our world?

Response: Join the world in a chorus that Charles Wesley first penned in 1745:

Come, Thou long expected Jesus Born to set Thy people free; From our fears and sins release us, Let us find our rest in Thee. Israel’s Strength and Consolation, Hope of all the earth Thou art; Dear Desire of every nation, Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver, Born a child and yet a King, Born to reign in us forever, Now Thy gracious kingdom bring. By Thine own eternal Spirit, Rule in all our hearts alone; By Thine all sufficient merit, Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal proces- sion and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of Him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are…an aroma that brings life” (2 Corinthians 2:14-16, NIV)

Love (Advent Week 4).

The unconscious dogs are so awesome!

Download the Advent 2011 meditations here.

As sent ones, what is more selfless than forsaking one’s life as a mother to allow the growth and flourishing of a child?

Download the Advent 2011 meditations here.

ADVENT WEEK 4 {18.12-24.12}: THE S[c]ENT OF LOVE

  • Love |ləv| noun: deep affection or attachment to someone.

Texts: 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16; Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26; Romans 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-38

Meditation: The scent of love: The blending of dirty diapers and baby pow- der, selflessly applied to a newborn infant. The warm embrace of mother and child, lingering under a shady tree, enjoying a few stolen moments of rest, experiencing an intimacy that the Father longs for us to know through Christ. As Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” As sent ones, what is more selfless than forsaking one’s life as a mother to allow the growth and flourishing of a child?

Response: Deliberately serve family and friends in areas that you know they will experience the scent of love the greatest, regardless of what you receive through this act of service.

Peace + Joy.

Love the wood-fire pizza oven!

As sent ones, do we carry the aroma of peace--the weight of peace--into the lives of our family and friends, or does chaos and discord reign?

DOWNLOAD THE ADVENT 2011 READING GUIDE I WROTE FOR 3rd PLACE HERE.

ADVENT WEEK 2 {04.12-10.12}: THE S[c]ENT OF PEACE

  • Peace |pēs| noun: freedom from disturbance; mental calm; serenity.

Texts: Isaiah 40:1-11; Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13; 2 Peter 3:8-15a; Mark 1:1-8

Meditation: The scent of peace: Knuckles calmly kneading dough into for- mation, spreading yeast throughout a fresh loaf of bread. The smell of rising dough baking in the oven, wafting throughout the house, filling one’s home (and one’s soul) with a calmness sorely needed. The pace of bread-making demands a rhythm through which peace can only descend: Collecting ingre- dients, measuring correct amounts, stirring, kneading, softening, adding a spicy surprise. Again, are we speaking of baking bread or a sense of calm that we all wish would descend upon our lives? As sent ones, do we carry the aroma of peace–the weight of peace–into the lives of our family and friends, or does chaos and discord reign?

Response: Take a gracious, yet honest look at your relationships this week. Are you a person of peace to those around you, or do you wear down those whom you are in relationship with? Invite the Spirit to calm your spirit, and breathe a fresh scent into you soul.

Random really large knife in an idyllic scene. Maybe a sunbathing pirate?

As sent ones, do we invite others into this experience of the profound pleasures of life, or do we linger in the disappointments of what should have been? Isn’t it time for letting go?

DOWNLOAD THE ADVENT 2011 READING GUIDE I WROTE FOR 3rd PLACE HERE.

ADVENT WEEK 3 {11.12-17.12}: THE S[c]ENT OF JOY

Joy |joi| noun: great pleasure and happiness. Texts: Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11; Psalm 126; Luke 1:47-55; 1 Thessalonians

5:16-24; John 1:6-8, 19-28

Meditation: The scent of joy: A soft, salty breeze drifts over your body as you lay upon your towel at the beach, mingling with your fifth layer of coco- nut sunscreen applied today. The sound of children splashing in the water, running away from a year of struggle, hard growth, and transformation, leaving behind all that weighs us down. The sight of bright swimsuits clash- ing gloriously with beach umbrellas, rugby balls, and a new summer book. Doesn’t joy smell like the simple pleasures of a holiday on the coast? As sent ones, do we invite others into this experience of the profound pleasures of life, or do we linger in the disappointments of what should have been? Isn’t it time for letting go?

Response: Joy is best expressed at a loud volume. Invite a friend to laugh, sing, or talk LOUDLY, enjoying the simple pleasures that life can bring. You’ll be amazed at how quickly joy will join the conversation.

ADVENT WEEK 3 {11.12-17.12}: THE S[c]ENT OF JOY

  • Joy |joi| noun: great pleasure and happiness.

Texts: Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11; Psalm 126; Luke 1:47-55; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24; John 1:6-8, 19-28

Meditation: The scent of joy: A soft, salty breeze drifts over your body as you lay upon your towel at the beach, mingling with your fifth layer of coco- nut sunscreen applied today. The sound of children splashing in the water, running away from a year of struggle, hard growth, and transformation, leaving behind all that weighs us down. The sight of bright swimsuits clash- ing gloriously with beach umbrellas, rugby balls, and a new summer book. Doesn’t joy smell like the simple pleasures of a holiday on the coast? As sent ones, do we invite others into this experience of the profound pleasures of life, or do we linger in the disappointments of what should have been? Isn’t it time for letting go?

Response: Joy is best expressed at a loud volume. Invite a friend to laugh, sing, or talk LOUDLY, enjoying the simple pleasures that life can bring. You’ll be amazed at how quickly joy will join the conversation.

DOWNLOAD THE ADVENT 2011 READING GUIDE I WROTE FOR 3rd PLACE HERE.

S[c]ENT//Advent 2011.

What if the Church throughout the world pressed ‘restart’ each year in an effort to awake once again to the fragrance of Christ within us, and throughout every corner of the world?

DOWNLOAD THE ADVENT 2011 READING GUIDE I WROTE FOR 3rd PLACE HERE.

S[c]ENT//ADVENT 2011

  • Scent |sent| noun: a distinctive smell, esp. one that is pleasant. From Old French sentir, meaning to ‘perceive or smell.’
  • Sent |sent| verb: cause to go or be taken to a particular destination; affect with powerful emotion; put into ecstasy.

What if the Church throughout the world pressed ‘restart’ each year in an effort to awake once again to the fragrance of Christ within us, and throughout every corner of the world? What if a season in the life of the Church preceded the arrival of a fresh calendar year as a means by which to prepare for the arrival of Christ into our world at the end of days? What if we grew in everyday awareness of God’s fragrance in the world, and began to see anew our calling as sent ones carrying the sweet aroma of Christ to all whom we meet?

This is the season of Advent, a season which anticipates Christ’s final arrival through the lens of celebrating the birth of Jesus as God’s entrance into our world. Welcoming the scent of Christ through the sending of Christ. A pleasing fragrance wafting through our world. Welcome, 3rd Place, to S[c]ENT, the season of Advent.

“In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, He brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation–an aroma redolent with life.” (2 Corinthians 2:14-16, The Message)

Advent is a season of expectant anticipation, of anticipatory joy. It is also a season of repentant preparation for a future that is yet to come.

WHAT IS THE SEASON OF ADVENT?

“Christmas is about the coming in the present of the Lord who came long ago in the past. Jesus comes again each Christmas. This is the central purpose of the season of the church year known as Advent, the four Sundays + four weeks before Christmas. Each Advent, Christians relive ancient Israel’s yearning + hope, and each Christmas Christians celebrate the fulfillment of the yearning: ‘Joy to the world, the Lord is come.’ The purpose of Advent + Christmas is to bring the past into the present.”

“The Latin root of Advent is a word that means ‘coming’ or ‘arrival.’ Advent thus means, ‘toward the coming.’ Advent is preparation for the coming of Jesus to the world-then, in the past; now, in the present, and as we will see later, in the future. Advent + Christmas bring the coming of Jesus, the birth of Jesus with all of its associations, into the present. Past, present, and future are brought together in Advent. It is a season of expectant anticipation, of anticipatory joy. It is also a season of repentant preparation for a future that is yet to come.

On the personal level, Christmas is about light coming into the darkness of our individual lives, about our return from exile, about inner peace. Indeed, it is about the birth of Christ within us” (Excerpted from Marcus Borg + John Dominic Crossan, The First Christmas).

INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE SEASON OF ADVENT

At the beginning of each week in Advent, light an incense stick as a welcome re- minder that the exquisite fragrance of God’s Spirit dwells as a sweet aroma within us and throughout every corner of our world. Ask the Spirit to open your spirit to the presence of God in your life & during these moments of meditation. Select one of the weekly Advent texts & practice the discipline of Lectio Divina as a means of opening up to God’s active word. Once finished, return to the Advent themed meditation for the week. Again, let the words read you. What is God saying? Engage in action that responds to God’s living word in you.

Gerhard Van Wyk is a genius. View his work here--> http://thispencil.co.za/

As sent ones, carrying the fragrance of Christ into our world begs the question, how are you inviting others to imagine a fresh start filled with newfound expectation?

ADVENT WEEK 1 {27.11-03.12}: THE S[c]ENT OF HOPE

  • Hope |hōp| noun: expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

Texts: Isaiah 64:1-9; Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 13:24-37

Meditation: The scent of hope: a cool shower, a fresh bar of soap, the cleansing rinse of shampoo running down the drain. Toweling off, naked with the possibility of a brand new start. The metaphor writes itself, does it not? It recalls to mind the fact that God’s heart beats perpetually in desire for His creation to return to Himself, finding life where life was first imagined. As sent ones, carrying the fragrance of Christ into our world begs the question, how are you inviting others to imagine a fresh start filled with newfound expectation?

Response: Invite a friend to recover something they have lost hope in: A sense of future possibilities, a fresh start, a different path than they are currently walking. How can your presence inspire new life?

DOWNLOAD THE ADVENT 2011 READING GUIDE I WROTE FOR 3rd PLACE HERE.

The Wisdom of Margin.

 

The last in the series of Ordinary Time write-ups in our 3rd Place liturgical year. Download here!

 

"The margins of life are where creativity happens." (JD Walt)

 

 

What if we lived as if created to play within our world?

Information consumption is a growing addiction in our world. Guilty myself!

It's time to doodle again!

The Wisdom of Descent.

Grab 3rd Place’s September take on Ordinary Time, “The Wisdom of Descent,” which I wrote, here:

Love the root meaning, "to climb down."

Nouwen's definition of prayer: Where we are totally ourselves before God.

"The chief task of the athlete (that is, the monk) is to enter into his heart" (Macarius the Great)

The reality that the Spirit dwells in my hidden self both liberates and freaks me out!

"Prayer moves theology of the head to words expressed by the heart" (Henri Nouwen)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wisdom Of Obedience.

Nothing ordinary about obedience at all, even if it has fallen out of fashion.

Tom Smith rocked our community in early July with a two-week series on training withe Jesus in the sort of life that He lived on this earth, implying heavily that one of the values that has been lost in our obsession with all things missional has been the difficult act of obedience.  If I’m frank, obedience makes me uncomfortable, because it confronts the values that I speak out with the reality how how I often am falling short of them in my life. I’d rather stick in the intellectual discussion of a certain theological treatise, or pick apart a concept that society is wrestling with. Obedience brings this discussion to a guttural level, asking me if I truly take serious the implications of following Someone’s Authoritative Voice. I’m excited to pursue this aspect of Ordinary Time with our faith community this month.

Full downloadable PDF here.

Really challenged by this definition of obedience.

Do I prefer consuming information as opposed to acting out transformation?

May my obedience grow to match my information consumption.