We are a family here at Trinity Reformed Church. We are a family bound together by the blood of Jesus. We are family, and so we meet together regularly, we fellowship in one another’s homes, we rejoice together, we mourn together, we gather here for our weekly all-family dinner, we embrace one another, we kiss one another, and share with one another. We are family. And for Christians this family is tighter and more fundamental than our last names. “Christian” is the more fundamental identity than nationality, ethnicity, culture, or family ties. And this means that we watch out for one another like family. When a member of this family stumbles we do not just watch and let it happen. We do not ignore it politely and hope it goes away. When one of our brothers or sisters falls, we go after them in love. We seek the straying sheep, and we rejoice when they are restored, just like you would rejoice if one of your children went missing and was found safe and alive. Sometimes this occurs in small situations: when a father corrects and disciplines his child in love, he is calling a younger brother or sister to faithfulness in Jesus and going after that little lamb in love. Or maybe an elder or pastor calls up a family and asks how they’re doing and asks about areas that perhaps need attention. And sometimes this can happen on a bigger scale over the course of months or years or even decades. We pray for individuals most weeks during the prayers of the people, individuals who have left the faith or have been excommunicated or are straying in various ways. We pray for them that God would restore them to the family. There are empty places at the table, and we mourn their loss and pray that the God of the resurrection would restore them to us. But this is the point: we are family and we are family not merely in name, but in fact. We have all taken vows to this particular family in Christ. We have relatives in this family all over the world and in many congregations across the Palouse. But here are our people; here is our family. So let us love one another not merely in word or in tongue but in deed and in truth.