A Pilgrimage Through the Lenten Wilderness


We are on the threshold of one of the most holy paths of the Christian year. During the season of Lent, we follow Jesus into the desert where he was tempted to abandon his convictions. We follow him through towns and villages where he preached to crowds of people, shared meals with tax collectors and sinners, welcomed children into his circle of care, listened to women, and brought healing to the sick and suffering. We follow him up into the mountains where he prayed. And we follow him into Jerusalem where he was arrested and executed.

To help you on your own Lenten journey, Wes Conn, our Ministry Fellow, and Lara Glass, our Student Program Fellow, have developed “Seven Intentions for the Seven Weeks of Lent” which you’ll find on the reverse side of this letter. They suggest a passage of scripture to meditate on each week as well as a practice to help sharpen your attention to the world within you and around you.  

Our community’s Lenten pilgrimage will begin on February 25—Shrove Tuesday—with a pre-Lenten pan-cake supper in the Student Oasis at 6 pm, followed by a screening of Emilio Estevez’s pilgrimage movie, “The Way.” Our Ash Wednesday service will take place on February 26, 12:10-12:30 pm, in the sanctuary.

In addition to the schedule of services on the reverse side of this letter, other Lenten activities at the church will include the pilgrimage reading group’s discussion of Valeria Luiselli’s Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions on March 25, 7-8:30 pm, an Interior Pilgrimage on March 3 at 7 pm in the Seminar Room, organ recitals by Carson Cooman (March 8, 4 pm) and Daniel Forger (March 12, 7:30 pm), and two lectures by our William Belden Noble Lecturer, the Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on March 10 and 11 at 7 pm in the sanctuary. Dr. Warnock will help us consider the relationship between our life of faith and our lives as citizens with lectures on “Voter Suppression: An Assault on our Democracy” and “Poverty: An Affront to our Covenant with One Another.” We will also have a special pilgrimage to sacred sites on Harvard’s campus on April 3 from 1:30-4 pm.

All of us on staff look forward to being on pilgrimage with you this Lent. As Ash Wednesday draws closer, we give thanks for each of you and the community we share together.


Stephanie Paulsell signature

Professor Stephanie Paulsell
Interim Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church of Harvard University
Susan Shallcross Swartz Professor of the Practice of Christian Studies, Harvard Divinity School


Lent mailerSeven Intentions for the Seven Weeks of Lent

View this guide for simple suggestions during Lent on how to make this a time of new beginnings.

This Lenten season, tell us about your pilgrimage seeking illumination, connection and discovery  Share your journey with the MemChurch Community on Facebook and Instagram.


See also: Holy Week, Lent