Holy Week in the Secular City

A generation ago, New York City offices closed at noon on Good Friday. The workers poured out of their buildings and into the churches for the start of the traditional three hour preaching services.

Today, Good Friday is either a holiday–in which case, the workers aren’t in the city at all, or it is a work day, so that the workers don’t have time to attend a long service. At Incarnation last Sunday, a Persian Day Parade on Madison Avenue interrupted our main Palm Sunday service. This Easter Sunday, a major playoff game is scheduled to take place at nearby Madison Square Garden.

Much has been written about the secularization of Western society. While the above examples show how the broad trend against religion affects Christians on the ground, some of these comments are off the mark. Christianity is actually growing in Manhattan, for example, as many small evangelical congregations are forming.

Which prompts the hopeful thought that as Christianity becomes more and more counter-cultural and underground, it may re-capture the spiritual confidence of the early Christians. In the meantime, a Happy Easter to all. —J. Douglas Ousley

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