God exists as one God in a community of three unique persons (Genesis 1:26, 11:7, Deuteronomy 6:4, etc.). Not only did he create humankind in his image, but Jesus himself, to whom the whole church belongs, revealed to what end he has shared his glory with his community of followers when he said in John 17:22, “that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” In that statement is a unity in the church likened to that of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (perfect unity yet distinct), united by love of God for the common purpose of his saving work on earth (“so that the world...”).
The Christian life is depicted as a meal hosted by the Lord and shared by Christ’s faithful at his invitation and preparation through his death and resurrection (see Isaiah 25:6, Acts 2:42, 1 Corinthians 11:25, etc.). The church brought to table with the Lord at once reveals a community that is:
- A family unit (shared life); see Romans 8:16, Mat. 12:46-50, Romans 16:1-16
- Submitted to Christ as the host (his purpose becomes our common mission in bringing others to the table); see Matthew 28:18, Ephesians 1:22-23
- Reconciled to God and one another (a place of peace); see Genesis 31:46, Exodus 24:11
- Eating/using what the Lord provides (shared gifts through the Spirit); see Ephesians 4:4-16