Does your gut kick up a fuss over Good Friday like mine does?

I FEEL the pain of it all—too much. My head tells me that Jesus’ crucifixion brought life to my soul, but my heart agonizes over the unfathomable price tag.

Good Friday takes me back 60 years to a sermon preached by Charlie Svendsen in Montrose, California. He wanted to be called Charles, but church sentiment morphed his preference to Charlie. My husband, then a seminary student, was assigned to Charlie for his practical field work, and for three years, we basked in a venue of love and learning. The youngest Svendsen child, John, was the same age as our first child, Eric, and their family became our family.

Charlie was laid back, his sermons solid and meaty, crafted from a unique perspective. One Mother’s Day, he preached on King Saul’s concubine Rizpah, whose two sons (along with 5 half-brothers) were killed—by King David’s order—in a complicated deal with the Gibeonites to break a severe famine. Rizpah took sackcloth and spread it on a rock so she could beat off birds by day and animals by night from the bodies of her sons. Now there’s a mother! Rizpah found her way into my novel on the life of King David—The Stones.

Back to Good Friday. What was Jesus’ view from that dreadful cross? In rigid fascination he beheld the fullness of the Fall, the ripeness of evil, almost like a grotesque tapestry of suffering—every thread crafted by human hands from the twisted fabric of rebellion against the great I AM. It wracked his body, made him strain against the nails, cry out in anguish at the aloneness of that tortured path. But with the faces of his thick-headed disciples engraved on his heart, love propelled him to the very end.

Last words. “It is finished.” Pastor Charlie set the scene, emphasizing that Jesus wasn’t just saying, “Aw, shucks…I’m done for.” NO! The word burst forth in a bellow of triumph that rang-banged against the gates of hell:He cried!

Job done. Lamb slain. Salvation secured. Death canceled. LIFE BEGINS!

Thank you, Jesus.
Thank you, Charlie.

How does Good Friday affect you? Tell me below, or email