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Why all that church is worth it in Holy Week

There is a lot of church in Holy Week.  In March’s Porous Church column on the Anglican Journal website, I offer one reason for why it’s worth it – and why you should bring your kids to some of it, too.


The church where I served as student minister has a number of very large stained glass windows: Christ with the children, the women at the empty tomb, and a rather lurid depiction of Christ on the cross, featuring a great deal of purple and agony. My son was three years old while we were at this particular parish and, of course, he loved that crucifixion. As a result, we (or rather, my husband and son, as I was generally otherwise occupied at church) talked quite a lot about Christ’s death, conversations that naturally (for my husband and son, at least) became conversations about oppressive political regimes, torture, capital punishment, non-violent political action, and martyrdom. Holy Week is not for the faint of heart.

Then again, the 6 o’clock news is not for the faint of heart, either. War, terrorism, violence, corruption, discrimination, inequality—such stories make up the soundtrack in our kitchen as we prepare dinner. We have never tried to protect our son from these sad realities. Instead, we have tried to explain the stories as best as we can, working to equip him with some basic tools for understanding geography, politics, history, and ethics. And we have tried to place these stories in the context of Holy Week.

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