Psalm 30 5 Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

Lent 2023

The Truth That Sets Us Free:
Contemplation and Courage for the Common Good

Lent is a season of special depth and intentional observance at First Church in Cambridge. Each year we reflect on the forty days leading up to Easter with opportunities to gather for study and spiritual practice. Join us as we spend our time together with an exhibit of 11 portraits from the project “Americans Who Tell the Truth” by Robert Shetterly, a documentary about his work, and with an all-church community book read that engages the topic of embodied contemplative spirituality.

This Lent, we are all invited to reflect on and illuminate our need for unity, as we continue to reckon with our past and reimagine embodied hope for the future of our lives and our world.

Please visit the page dedicated to our Americans Who Tell The Truth exhibit to learn about the opportunities surrounding this installation. 

Americans Who Tell The Truth: An Exhibit at First Church

Ash Wednesday Service
Wednesday, February 22
7:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Sanctuary and via livestream

On Ash Wednesday, we reflect on our origins in the dust, our brokenness, and our dependence on God. Through a liturgy of readings, song, and prayer, we will gather together in the Spirit to acknowledge ashes as a sign of creation, mortality, repentance, and the Cross. Join us in person for our evening service with the imposition of ashes or participate from home via our livestream. If you are participating from home, please plan to bring a small dish of soil mixed with olive oil or water for self-imposition.

First Church Community Read & Lenten Formation Series
Sundays, February 26 – March 19
9:30 – 10:15 a.m.
Harter Room and via Zoom

To be human in an aching world is to know our dignity and become people who safeguard the dignity of everything around us.

– Cole Arthur Riley

Join a Lenten season all-church community read of This Here Flesh: Spirituality, Liberation and the Stories that Make Us by Cole Arthur Riley. Written as stories about the author’s childhood and coming to self, This Here Flesh “boldly explores some of the most urgent questions of life and faith: How can spirituality not silence the body, but instead allow it to come alive? How do we honor, lament, and heal from the stories we inherit? How can we find peace in a world overtaken with dislocation, noise, and unrest? In this work of contemplative storytelling, Arthur Riley invites us to descend into our own stories, examine our capacity to rest, wonder, joy, rage, and repair, and find that our humanity is not an enemy to faith but evidence of it.”

We’ll discuss the book in four hybrid Sunday morning sessions and in a Faith & Life Group that will meet on Thursday mornings at 7:30 a.m., beginning March 9. Even if you can’t attend the conversation, all are encouraged to join in reading this work of truth telling, memory, and embodied contemplative spirituality.

Books are available for a donation of $10.

Lenten Faith & Life Groups

Explore this season’s offerings of Faith & Life Groups and register here by February 26.

The Hallelujah Chorus, Reconsidered
Sunday, March 26, 9:30 – 10:15 a.m.
Harter Room and via Zoom

Handel’s beloved masterpiece Messiah has a backstory that we need to know about. Aspects of the setting of the text and Handel’s investments will be explored and discussed, so that we may come to terms with colonial history and cultural attitudes of his time. Andy Clark and Peter Sykes will lead a discussion about what it may have meant in Handel’s time and what it can mean for us now.