My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
The inevitable corollary of our shared relationship with a loving God is our relationship with one another. If we are all sons of God, then we are brothers and sisters in the same family. The New Testament writers encourage us to build our relationships, to watch out for one another, to step in if necessary, and tell us if we are going astray. That is only possible if we stay in regular contact, so that we can look out for one another. When one sheep went astray, the shepherd in the parable did not say, I’ve still got ninety-nine, he went after the one who had got lost.
Lord, you have put us in communities, congregations who share the joys and the challenges of Christian living. Help us to function as the sort of church you want us to be, with compassion, and if necessary with courage, to care for one another so that none of us gets drawn away.