The trinity is a mystery no human can understand: one god in three persons, the ultimate picture of harmony and constant perfect binding love. This mysterious, binding oneness is expressed in the Hebrew word “echad”:
Deuteronomy 6:4 | Sh’ma Yisra’eil Adonai Eloheinu Adonai echad. The Lord is our God, the Lord is one.
This word conveys the concept of composite unity: oneness and strength derived from twisting and binding together. This is the unity of the trinity.
The same word is used to describe the union of marriage:
Genesis 2:24 | Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one.
Jesus uses the same word when praying to the Father in John 17 for his future church:
John 17: 11 | Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.
To be a part of this union with God, echad, is ultimate peace and satisfaction. It is home and heaven at once. While our imitations of the one holy echad of the trinity can only be imperfect until we are perfected in the resurrection, it is the closest experience we can of heaven while still on earth.
Followers of Christ are called to seek this communion with each other. As we pursue holiness and become more effective imitators of Christ, we build more in common with each other, and grow closer as a body. Unity in Christ does not know denominational boundaries. It does not take schisms into account. It does not disqualify based on theological technicalities. It does not consider nationality or income, race, or marital status. We are simply called to be in loving communion with God and each other.
Unity does not stop at the church doors. As followers of Christ, we have a responsibility not only to imitate Christ, but to care for one another and extend this care to strangers not yet in the holiest communion.
Christ’s second commandment is to love your neighbor. To love truly you must first know truly: inviting strangers to take part in community with the church. Hospitality is the practice of extending community in order to know and love the stranger.
Hospitality will change the world.