“The vigil of Good Friday,” writes Peter Hansen, “moves us all in a way no other observance does during the Christian year. We weep quietly; we mourn the tragedy of sin and its evil and destructive fruit.” Yet “those mere words in Scripture, ‘he was crucified,’ simply do not have the impact on twenty-first-century Christians that they had on first-century citizens of a Roman world, people who had witnessed these brutal executions in person and had no need for a description of such events in detail. But we do.”
What would it have been like for those involved in the scourging and execution of Jesus of Nazareth? How would those who loved him, including his mother, make sense of what was happening?
"I Was There: Eyewitnesses At The Foot Of The Cross" ($15 in paperback from WestBow Press; also for Amazon Kindle) by Peter Falconer Hansen is “my attempt to capture eyewitness experiences of people at hand—what I imagine they saw and heard, how they felt and acted, and the realizations they made through the unfolding drama. … Through the eyes of people we know were there, we share the experience of that world-changing day.”
The book can be obtained locally at Lyon Books in Chico. Signed copies are available from Father Hansen at St. Augustine of Canterbury Anglican Church, 228 Salem in Chico; call (530) 894-7409.
The author’s dramatic inspiration comes in part from his father, Peter Franklin Hansen, who “enjoyed a fifty-year career as an actor. …; his best known character was as Lee Baldwin in the daytime drama General Hospital.” He and fellow actors would serve churches in Los Angeles by portraying various Biblical characters in a Christmas drama.
In Good Friday, darkness prevails; where is the promise of “good tidings”? In 19 personal encounters, told by the likes of Peter the disciple, Caiaphas the High Priest, Barabbas, Judas, Lazarus (the friend Jesus raised from the dead), and Mary, the promise deepens, yearning for resurrection.
And now, in Easter, “he is risen indeed!”