a picture of the cross hanging from the ceiling

Holy Week and Easter at First Church

Our 40-day journey with Jesus, Our Center, culminates as we turn toward Jerusalem and to the powerful, somber, mysterious, yet ultimately joy-filled events of Holy Week. This year, we pay special attention to blessing the ties that bind us together and weave us into one community in Christ.

Each of the stories we read—from Palm Sunday through Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter—include powerful references to fabric and thread. We plan to “weave” this symbol into our Holy Week liturgies and rituals, and we look forward to offering everyone a simple hemp bracelet to be worn throughout the week. We hope the bracelet can be a symbol of your connection to First Church and your Holy Week intentions.

Bracelets will be available to everyone on Palm Sunday morning. If you are unable to join us either outdoors or in our building on Palm Sunday, please email Sarah Higginbotham to arrange the pick up or mailing of your bracelet by Tuesday, April 5.

If you would like to donate memorial flowers for loved ones this Easter, learn more here.

Due to an expected increase in the number of people worshiping in person, as well as our plan for robust singing, we will continue masking in the Sanctuary through Easter. 

Palm Sunday, April 10

Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Mark 11: 8

Palm Sunday gathering and processional on the lawn, 10:15 a.m.

Join us for a time of connection with friends old and new, as pick up the threads of the Holy Week story and of our own stories of what First Church has meant to us through this long season apart. We will ask God to bless all the ties that bind us together, near and far! Coffee, tea, cocoa and hot cross buns will be served, and we’ll share in our traditional Palm Sunday processional from the lawn into the Sanctuary. For those joining remotely, this part of the service will be shared via Facebook Live.

Hybrid morning worship in the sanctuary, 11:00 a.m.

Come sing “Hosanna,” as our procession concludes in the Sanctuary and we hear the story of Jesus entering into Jerusalem.

refreshments on the lawn and zoom coffee hour, 12:00 p.m.

Our Palm Sunday worship will be followed by a time for coffee, tea, cocoa, and conversations on the lawn (or in Margaret Jewett Hall, weather depending). For those joining online, Zoom Coffee Hour will start right after the service.

maundy thursday, april 14

After that, Jesus poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. John 13:5

Multigenerational Foot Washing Ritual, 6:15 p.m., Sanctuary and via livestream

Join us as we hear the story of Jesus washing his disciple’s feet and then participate in this sacred ritual, embodying the love of Christ by washing one another’s feet, with basin and towel. Families with young kids are most welcome!

Maundy Thursday Service with Communion and Tenebrae, 7:00 p.m., Sanctuary and via livestream

We recall the new commandment Jesus gave his disciples “to love one another as I have loved you.” We remember his last meal with his friends by celebrating Holy Communion. And in a candle-lit, then darkened, sanctuary, we call to mind Jesus’ anguish and arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. We depart in silence.

This service is likely most suitable for children older than 10; families with younger children are welcome to depart after the foot washing. 

Good friday, april 15

Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. —Matthew 27:51-52

Good Friday Service, 7:00 p.m., via Zoom

We gather to lament the world’s pain and injustice and to remember Jesus’ death on the cross. Join us via Zoom for this solemn service of ritual, reverence, and remembrance, where we meditate on the stations of the cross, pairing Jesus’ story with stories and images from our current lives and recent past. Please bring your threads that you picked up at the start of Holy Week. If you do not have them, you can bring any strip of fabric or long substantial thread to our Zoom worship. Even without this element, you are welcome. The images and their accompanying stories are difficult to witness, highlighting pain and suffering.

Parents are encouraged to use their judgment; the Good Friday service is likely most suitable for children older than 10. 

easter sunday, april 17

Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened. —Luke 24:10-12

Easter Proclamation, Breakfast potluck, and Egg Hunt on the Lawn, 10:00 a.m.

Come proclaim “Alleluia” that “Christ is Risen” with us! The congregation is invited to bring a quiche, fruit, baked goods, or another brunch side (the ovens will be available to warm dishes brought from home). Fellowship will be providing some offerings as well, so know that you are welcome with or without a dish to contribute. If you have a half hour to help out before or after the meal, we invite you to pick up a job card from Caitlin Anderson when you arrive and pitch in with a set-up or clean-up task, or email fellowship@firstchurchcambridge.org

Hybrid Morning Worship, 11:00 a.m., Sanctuary and via livestream

Christ is Risen! We celebrate and rejoice in God’s gift of new life through the resurrection of Jesus, as we proclaim that not even death can separate us from the love of God in Christ. Join us in the sanctuary or online for this Easter Festival worship.