The countdown to Ash Wednesday is on! As the season of Lent approaches, Rev. Dr. Chip Hardwick, executive of the Synod of the Covenant, offered a 90-minute webinar titled “Exploring the Themes of Lent.” The webinar, part of the synod’s Equipping Preachers series, delves into the significance of Lent and explores fresh approaches to preaching and worship through this season. The webinar took place on Jan 3rd, but a recording of the workshop can be found here.

Rev. Hardwick discusses the historical context of Lent, deriving its name from the Anglo-Saxon word “lencten,” meaning “lengthening.” The webinar identifies themes for Lent, including “austerity,” “preparation,” and “an intentional focus on God.” Hardwick also emphasizes the importance of repentance, prayer, and spiritual disciplines during this period.

During the webinar, Rev. Hardwick explores options for preaching throughout Lent, introducing new publications such as “Pause: Spending Lent with the Psalms” and “Hard and Holy Work: A Lenten Journey Through the Book of Exodus.” Discussions touch on lectionary passages, identifying common themes like covenant, death and new life, following God’s path, wilderness, and questioning God’s nature and desires.

Additionally, creative suggestions for Lenten practices are shared, such as using a consistent hymn or incorporating discussion questions in bulletins for worshipers to reflect on throughout the week.

For those interested in the Equipping Preachers series, further details can be found on the Synod of the Covenant’s website.