Sharing Our Stories On The Journey of Faith – Advent Day 1

“Draw near to me, hear this! From the beginning I have not spoken in secret, from the time it came to be I have been there. And now the Lord God has sent me and his spirit.” – Isaiah 48:16

At 13 my mother was ordained. I was new to being a pastor’s kid. I moved from the big 3rd floor bedroom of the big century home to a converted basement storage space in the small ranch home.  I was new to a community and school. To boot, I was painfully self-conscious and shy. On the first day in the school cafeteria – a day and time I dreaded – a group was waiting for me. They descended upon me with introductions and invitations. They included me in their community.

Long before I became familiar with this iconographic image…  300px-Andrej_Rublëv_001








I pictured the community of God like this…

family praying dinner





For as long as I can remember I have pictured Three at a table dreaming of, shaping and guiding other gatherings in their life-giving likeness.

Jesus left that table so that he could go out to invite others to join him. God in Jesus descended with introductions and invitations. The Holy Spirit continues to extend those invitations through us.

In this season when we celebrate God coming among us in the birth of Jesus who will you invite to your table in his name?

God the Three in One, we gather at our holiday tables in gratitude for the communities in which we find welcome and identity. Help us to remember that there are many who are turned away from tables. Work in us, that having found welcome in you, we will work for reconciliation and inclusion in the name of Jesus all may gather at your Great Kingdom Table. Amen.

Pastor Cara Stultz Costello


About faithumchurch

Spiritual Formation Director at Faith United Methodist Church in North Canton, Ohio
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4 Responses to Sharing Our Stories On The Journey of Faith – Advent Day 1

  1. Carmie says:

    There is something powerful about being included in a community. It creates a sense of security, lowers inhibitions and opens people to be vulnerable. In this vulnerable place, we are able to be changed by the power of God. We are able to see the direction God leading. Thank you, Cara, for your reminder that we, like Jesus, are called to include the lost, hurt, broken-hearted, and troubled. Like Christ, we are called to leave the our table of community in order to bring in others.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful blog post and very nice sermon today. It is really touching me right now. I have not been close to God since I was a teenager. I used to go to church with my family and I was a youth leader in my congregation and felt closeness to God. Many people there knew and cared for me. However, after going away to college and starting adulthood (marked by frequent moves), I became a bit of a church nomad. I have been seeking that same sense of community I felt as a child and cannot seem to find it in church and, along the way, I think I have gotten lost as a person. It is absolutely true that it is powerful to be a part of a community , but it is also painful to be on the outside. It is important to relish in our own families but stay vigilant about opportunities to invite the others in.

  3. Cara Stultz Costello says:

    The call to community is for us to answer. The community of Faith UMC answers God’s call uniquely well. For this, I am grateful. For the ways in which we all can expand our tables I am grateful for courage, wisdom and the indwelling of the Spirit.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I love the image of community Cara brings out. Your reflection has given me a new appreciation for the initial sacrifice God made to part from the divine three-in-one community so that creation itself might come to the table and experience the fullness of communion with God.

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