May 5

Many religionists are content in gathering only two or three times a year. Some of the more faithful try to come together at least once every week. The true children of God, however, love their Lord enough to want to worship and learn of Him more frequently than once every seven days. In so doing they often draw the attention and wrath of God’s enemies.

The Baptists in Virginia had been put down and persecuted for years. Attacks upon them had come in many ways, including legislation, incarceration, disruption of their worship services and physical assault. Individual churches and groups of churches petitioned the House of Burgesses on several occasions, usually to no effect. But up to and during the time of the War for Independence some progress toward religious freedom began to slowly emerge.

On this day (May 5) in 1774 there was yet another petition brought before the Virginia government. This time there was a new and interesting theme involved. The records states: “A petition of sundry persons of the community of Christians called Baptists … was presented to the House and read, setting forth that the toleration proposed by the bill ordered at the last session of the General Assembly … not admitting public worship, except in the daytime, is inconsistent with the laws of England, as well as the practice and usage of the primitive churches, and even of the English church itself; that the night season may sometimes be better spared by the petitioners from the necessary duties of their callings; and that they wish for no indulgences which may disturb the peace of government; and therefore praying the House to take their case into consideration, and to grant them suitable redress.”

Some of our forefathers fought hard for the privilege of meeting on Sunday nights and other evenings during the week. What a sad commentary it is in these last days to see so many professing Christians who think that an hour with the Lord on Sunday morning is sufficient for their souls and their testimonies.