Pastor Jeffress shares Good Friday message and provides hope

On Good Friday years ago, NYC skyscrapers lit up with crosses and showed a nation that embraced faith

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Faith leaders and ordinary Americans are stunned by a spectacular public display of Christian faith that lit up the skyscrapers of New York City on Good Friday in 1956 and resurfaced on social media this week. 

“It’s a very powerful image,” Alex McFarland, president of McFarland Ministries in North Carolina, told Fox News Digital. 

“My heart was moved to think about that time when publicly and culturally we were not ashamed to invoke not only God, but invoke Jesus Christ.”

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The photo shows three Wall Street skyscrapers emblazoned with bright crosses — lights turned on inside each building to illuminate the image of the cherished Christian symbol against the darkness of unlit rooms and the night sky around them.  

Each cross measured 150 feet tall. 

The trio of towers with crosses appears to create the effect of Jesus crucified on Calvary on Good Friday beside two thieves, one who mocks the Savior, according to the Gospel of Luke, and the other who repents and asks to be taken into the Kingdom of Christ

Buildings with lighted crosses to honor Good Friday in April 1956. Left to right: 60 Wall Tower, 20 Exchange Place (formerly known as City Bank Farmers Trust Co.) and 40 Wall Street. Photo taken on April 5, 1956.  (Ed Peters/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

It’s a moment and an image at the very core of Christianity. 

But the values upon which the nation was founded appear not only to be waning today, but under direct assault by politicians, pop culture, education and academia. 

“My heart was moved to think about that time when publicly and culturally we were not ashamed to invoke not only God, but invoke Jesus Christ.” — Alex McFarland

“A mere 65 years ago, New York City celebrated the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus’ death on Calvary for all to see. There is no question the nation has performed a complete transformation, and not for the better,” Patti Garibay, founder of American Heritage Girls in Cincinnati, told Fox News Digital. 

She called the image of the skyscrapers with crosses “otherworldly.”

The photograph of three New York City skyscrapers illuminated with crosses on Good Friday 1956 reminds many of the crucifixion of Jesus and two thieves at Mount Calvary. Calvary Triptych, central panel, 1480s. Found in the collection of Szepmuveszeti Muzeum, Budapest. Artist Memling, Hans.  

The photograph of three New York City skyscrapers illuminated with crosses on Good Friday 1956 reminds many of the crucifixion of Jesus and two thieves at Mount Calvary. Calvary Triptych, central panel, 1480s. Found in the collection of Szepmuveszeti Muzeum, Budapest. Artist Memling, Hans.   (Fine Art Images/Heritage Images via Getty Images)

Last month, a poll from The Wall Street Journal found that just 39% of Americans say their religious faith is very important to them, compared with 62% as recently as 1998. 

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The nation’s rejection of Judeo-Christian has been accompanied by a breakdown of basic and once-sacred building blocks of society, including the family

In 1950, only 5% of U.S children lived in single-parent homes, according to federal data. 

Today, that figure is 38% among non-immigrant families, and as high as 50% in some states.

“Religious faith and its public expression were once readily welcomed in American society.” — Fr. Jeffrey Kirby

The breakdown of the family creates a whole slew of related social ills, including crime, poverty and failures in education. 

“The fruit of evil is chaos, disorder and confusion,” Rabbi Kirt Schneider of Ohio, author of “Messianic Prophecy Today” and host of the TV program, “Discovering the Jewish Jesus,” told Fox News Digital. 

"Religious faith and its public expression were once readily welcomed in American society," Fr. Jeffrey Kirby, pastor of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Indian Land, South Carolina, told Fox News Digital. 

“Religious faith and its public expression were once readily welcomed in American society,” Fr. Jeffrey Kirby, pastor of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Indian Land, South Carolina, told Fox News Digital.  (Fr. Jeff Kirby)

“Everything is compromised. Everybody thinks their moral standing is more compassionate than the word of God.”

He cited the so-called “gender-fluid” movement as an example of this chaos — and conveyed his belief that people are so lost without foundational values they can no longer accept the reality of gender as created by God and defined by science.

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“The vacuum is filled by chaos,” he said. 

Rabbi Schneider said he was immediately uneasy upon seeing the overt displays of Christian faith in the photos of the New York City skyscrapers — and understands why others might have felt same in 1956. 

“The image might have struck in hearts of many Jewish people because they had been persecuted over the centuries” and often by Christians, the rabbi said.

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But the image from 1956 sets in relief the state of society today that has swung recklessly too far the other way — not only unwilling to publicly display faith in God, but rejecting and mocking that faith.  

“People have drifted away from God’s word,” said the rabbi. “They’re no longer willing to stand on the foundation this country was founded upon.”

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The photo of the skyscrapers in the financial heart of the nation was sent over the wire by United Press Telephoto and appeared in newspapers around the United States — often front page center. 

A photo from 1952 shows one New York City skyscraper illuminated with a cross on Easter weekend.

A photo from 1952 shows one New York City skyscraper illuminated with a cross on Easter weekend. (Alamy)

“Religious faith and its public expression were once readily welcomed in American society,” Fr. Jeffrey Kirby, pastor of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Indian Land, South Carolina, told Fox News Digital. 

“The onslaught of aggressive secularism, however, has sadly robbed us of this aspect of our humanity. Rather than being encouraged, religious expression is actively suppressed and dismissed.”

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Said McFarland, “The historical record is that our country was founded by Christians on Christian principals. Our Constitution, our Bill of Rights, our advocacy for human rights around the world, the foundation of our faith in human rights, were birthed with Christian DNA.”

McFarland also said, “If we want to retain a free, safe, prosperous, stable America, it really behooves us to acknowledge those foundations that made us free, safe, prosperous and stable. And, like it or not, that foundation was Christianity in all its permutations.”

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He added, “I’d love to see those buildings of New York City show the same faith today.”



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