“It means a lot,” Flores said. “It means everything. He’s our all and all.”
Flores’ spirituality helped her during the death of her husband, who was killed in the Vietnam War. During his burial, she said, she pleaded to God to help her through the tough times.
“I looked up to the sky and said, ‘Father, please give me the strength. Help me raise these kids,’” she said.
Flores said her belief in Jesus has lifted her through difficult situations, and so it was only fitting to honor him by attending the church service.
The Glendale Religious Leaders Assn. sponsored the service, inviting clergy from other churches to read sermons reflecting on seven themes — forgiveness, pardon, love, loneliness, suffering, triumph and reunion — said to run throughout Jesus’ life.
Congregants can use the words to lead their own lives in the way they treat others, said Senior Pastor Charles Updike of First Baptist Church.
Church volunteers also collected donations that went to Glendale Child Support Hope Advocacy Resources Encouragement, an organization that helps children find adoptive or foster homes.
“Today, as we sit here contemplating the word of loneliness, 500,000 children in America are without a home,” said April Steele, the organization’s executive director.
Good Friday is often a somber day for Christians, who use it as a chance to reflect on the life of Jesus and that he died for them, Updike said.
A wood cross inside the church was covered Friday with a black shroud, which signifies Jesus’ death, he said.
The cross had been covered with a purple shroud during Lent, and congregants lifted the shroud Thursday night and hammered nails to the cross to signify betrayal, Updike said.
The cross signifies death on Good Friday, he said. But after Friday, its meaning changes.
“The cross becomes a sign of hope, not a symbol of death,” Updike said.
Glendale resident Hilda Fielding reflected Friday on Jesus’ life.
“I think of Jesus all through the day,” she said.
Tujunga resident Evelyn Horigan observes the day to remember the “great sacrifice Jesus made for our sins.”
Though she doesn’t go without food like some Christians do, Horigan said she spends the day in mourning and reflection, Horigan said.
Michelle Gonzalez’s 13-year-old son chose to give up TV , she said.
Gonzalez, who just became a Christian, said observing Good Friday allows her to learn about her new religion’s customs.
“This day is about trying to be a better person,” she said.