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. James 5:19-20
The final verses of this powerful letter are very significant indeed. The first thing we notice is James’s reminder of the family of God. Then we see the aspect of community. Do you see it there? If anyone among you. Consider what James would have in view as he thought of Church. How do you think he might respond to our view of Church? What aspects of the early Church are we lacking? Acts 2:42 is used many times as a template for what the Church is to be. It is a snapshot of the early Church, fleshed out in the remaining chapters of the book of Acts, as Luke describes the young Church in action. In a way, the letters of the New Testament are also a filling in of that snapshot as the diversity of those coming into the family of God expands to include people from all over the known world. That was God’s design in the diaspora that occurred after Stephen’s martyrdom. This diversity is designed by God to bring harmony. That harmony is to be found in community. We, as fallowers of Jesus assembled in local gatherings, are to be among each other! In our culture, that happens in different local assemblies, but we also see it happen in larger gatherings when those of local assemblies come together—conferences, concerts, and the like. But we also see it in the workplace and school and other areas of our lives where we encounter other members of the family of God. There is a community that is there—a common unity if you will. We are among each other so that we can care for each other and so that we can encourage each other to stand strong in our faith. How does this community play out in your life?