WORD for the Week for Dec 1, 2019
First Week of Advent

Advent is a time to wait and to prepare. As we ready our homes and our hearts for the coming of the Christ child, we wait with expectant hearts, filled with curiosity and wonder as we open ourselves to God's holy surprises.

During Advent you will hear the ancient lectionary texts for this season; our prayer is that we will hear them anew. May God deepen our awareness of God's abiding presence as we seek to love more deeply, celebrate greater joy, make everlasting peace, and proclaim hope who comes to each of us and to the world as God comes to dwell among us.
Sabbath Beginnings – Sacred Journey – Traditional Worship
WORD for Sabbath Beginnings 8am
Scripture Text: Isaiah 11:1-10

Worship Leader: Rev. Jim McChesney

Holy Communion : "Every single hour since the middle of the first century, somewhere in the world people have taken bread and broken it, calling it the body of Christ, and have given it to one another to remember Christ. They have used roughly the same words and told the same story in hundreds of languages. When we break the bread we join a company of people that extends around the entire world as well back in history, forward into the future, and upward into eternity. Even though we repeat it a million times, we will never fully comprehend its meaning and impact. It is a mystery."  ​Bishop Robert Schnase

Why this statement in Advent? Besides being a mystery, is it a surprise? Two thousand years of basically the same story, the same activity? 
​A suggestion. The meal we share in, called Holy Communion, is a drama that recounts the purpose of God that begins in a manger. It is the unbelievable event in which the immeasurable love of God came into the world in human form to show us what God's love can do. Every time we share in Communion we share again in this act of love. Now, I think that is a wonderful surprise; one which can too easily slip by us. May we hear again the good news, "I bring you tidings of great joy for to you is born this day in the city of David a savior who is Christ the Lord." A miraculous surprise!
WORD for Sacred Journey 8:30am
Scripture Text: Matthew 24:36-44

The Story: Surprise! What was that??? – Rev. Frenchye Magee

Reflection: The season of Advent offers us time to prepare and space to share the human journey found in the biblical story of Jesus’ birth. The turn of seasons, the winter solstice, the rhythms of grace and goodness all find their place as we consider again what it means that God befriends humanity by becoming human. 

Our Advent theme, “Holy Surprises” invites us to explore the questions of God’s surprises then and now, and leaves room for us to be surprised in new ways by the presence of the divine in our daily life. We begin with a question that many are still asking…‘ What was that???’  Bring a neighbor or friend along for the journey—all are welcome!
WORD for Traditional Worship 10am
Scripture Text: Isaiah 2:1-5

Sermon:   Surprise! What was that??? – Rev. Frenchye Magee

Reflection: No matter how prepared we think we are, many of us are always caught off guard by the end-of-the-year holidays. Thanksgiving, Christmas (and now Halloween) seem rolled into one large package of landscape and lighting design! Days meant to be filled with reflection and gratitude have been replaced with harried travel plans. If you are looking for a respite from this cycle, then Advent is for you—a season of preparation, of expectation—and this year at Hennepin a season of openness to the miracles of Christmas.

Our worship theme, “Holy Surprises,” is an invitation to remember that God’s gifts come to us in ways that are often unconventional and unexpected. We begin with the question that accompanies almost every surprise: ‘ What was that??? ’ as we hear the Old Testament prophet Isaiah describe a time when sounds of war become the sound of human concord and cooperation. You are invited to hear the ancient texts and familiar stories with new ears, then experience the fresh surprise of grace in your own life as God meets you where you are. Welcome to the season of holy surprises …welcome to Advent at Hennepin!    


The Bible In Your Hands

You're invited to "dig deeper." Here are a handful of resources:

Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church resources:
Worship Bulletins  | online archive of HAUMC worship bulletins
Sermon Recordings  | HAUMC Sacred Journey and Traditional Worship sermon recordings
Devotional Ministry  | HAUMC seasonal daily devotional ministry

Scripture exegesis and commentary resources:
Bible Gateway  | the Bible in hundreds of translations (NRSV, CEB, The Message, etc.)
BibleHub  | parse out the original Hebrew (OT) and Greek (NT)
Enter the Bible  | historical/cultural context for each book of the Bible from Luther Seminary
Oxford Biblical Studies  | historical/cultural context for each book of the Bible from Oxford
Working Preacher  | read and listen to lectionary commentary from Luther Seminary faculty

Art and Music resources:
Art in the Christian Tradition  | The Jean and Alexander Heard Divinity Library at Vanderbilt
Hymnary  | a resource for both modern and traditional worship music and hymns
Sing for Joy  | a worship music and hymn resource from St. Olaf College
WORD for the Week offers people an opportunity to prepare their hearts and minds for worship.
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WORD for the Week is a ministry of Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church.