One of my favorite times of the week is when my little family gathers around the table for breakfast. That usually happens for us on Saturday mornings. This morning I was basking in the joy of that moment. I said to Rachel and Ella (Simon was sleeping), "I'm so glad to be with my family." To which Ella replied and I quote, "We're missing a kid. Where's Simon?" As if to say, "This is great, but it's incomplete without Simon." And she's right - wonderfully right. And it brought me great joy that she would want Simon to be included.
I think it's similar with God's spiritual family (the church, us). He loves to be with the gathered family. He enjoys it and looks forward to it as should we. Therefore, the call to gather together (on Sunday or any other day) shouldn't be viewed as a legalistic command, but rather a time of joy and love and celebration of the gathered family of God. And I think He loves it when we say things like, "We're missing a kid. Where's ______?" Not as an accusation, but because it's just not the same without them! When we say it like Ella did, what could be more loving?