Joseph Schereschewsky vs. Martin Luther

Whew! So far, this has been a week of close battles unparalleled in Lent Madness history. On Monday Mechtild of Magdeburg defeated Odo of Cluny 52% to 48%. On Tuesday Raymond Nonnatus bested Moses the Black 51% to 49%. And yesterday Augustine of Canterbury snuck past Scholastica 51% to 49%.

This heart-pumping saintly action is enough to make you want to do some yoga. Or deep breathing exercises. Or drink some chamomile tea. Something calming! But instead, the battles just keep coming. Today it’s the scrappy Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky taking on the heavyweight Martin Luther. Is an upset in the making? Another tight race? Or will a blowout break the string of hotly contested, halo-busting battles?

Note that yesterday’s battle was not without controversy. The following was posted by the Supreme Executive Committee:

The SEC noticed an irregular surge of votes for Scholastica around midnight. Well over 6,000 votes were found to be cast irregularly in an attack using bots around the world. We have removed what we believe to be the correct amount of votes, and will continue to monitor this race. One person, one vote. If you break this rule, your votes will be removed and you will be cast off into the outer darkness of Lent Madness.

We are confident in the final result. But remember, Big Lent is watching.

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Augustine of Canterbury vs. Scholastica

Tightly contested race yesterday! But with a late charge, Raymond Nonnatus took down Moses the Black 51% to 49% (the SEC has certified the election). With this victory, exactly half the Elate Eight is set. Joining Raymond will be Stephen, Florence Nightingale, and Mechtild of Magdeburg. But that means there are still four spots up for grabs!

Today, Augustine of Canterbury faces Scholastica for the fifth spot in the subsequent round. To get here, Augustine defeated his namesake from Hippo (you do recall the Battle of the Augustines, right?) and Scholastica bested Macrina the Younger.

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Spread the Madness and Share Some Jesus

Lent Madness regulars will know that the Saintly Smackdown is sponsored by Forward Movement. Since 1935, Forward Movement has been inspiring disciples and empowering evangelists through print publications, conferences, and now digital resources. If you’re an Episcopalian, you’ve probably heard of Forward Day by Day, our flagship daily devotional read in print by over 500,000 people each day around the globe. If you’re not an Episcopalian, you’ll still find lots of what Forward Movement does of great use, including resources to encourage scripture engagement (you know…Bible reading) and daily prayer (talking to Jesus about why your saint isn’t in the next round, etc.).

While Tim and Scott are constantly hawking wares from the Lentorium, we’re glad that Lent Madness is free—just like grace—for anyone who wants to play. It’s part of Forward Movement’s ministry and mission to find new and innovative – and sometimes fun! – ways to draw people into a transformed life as a follower of Jesus. Continuing to offer Lent Madness—and a vast array of formation and meditation resources free of charge is paramount to us. And you can help us do that.

Free Forward Day by Day

The Rev. Kempton Baldridge distributes Forward Day by Day on a river towboat crew. Photo: Gregory Thorp.

Every year, Forward Movement gifts more than 100,000 items of literature to prisoners, hospital patients, nursing home residents, and military personnel—free of charge. Thanks to support from a grant from the Constable Fund of the Episcopal Church, Forward Movement is able to offer excellent Christian formation materials to congregations free of charge, though even this effort involved a considerable investment—stuff’s gotta get written, edited, proofed, printed, shipped, and arrive in your hands to be actual stuff. Resources in Spanish for growing Latino/Hispanic communities take some time to become self-sustaining, so these resources require donor support to help get them off the ground and into hands and hearts. Grow ChristiansOur latest free offering is Grow Christians, a community of disciples practicing faith at home.

If you love Lent Madness—and we’ve heard from so many that you do—we hope you will consider making a generous gift to Forward Movement. Offer it in honor of your favorite saint if you like. If you want our church to be enriched by low-cost or free resources, please consider making a generous gift. Every gift given to the glory of God and for the support of all the saints, known and unknown, helps more than we could ask or imagine.

You can make your gift online or by phone (during business hours, 800-543-1813). Thank you for playing, and thank you for your support.

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Moses the Black vs. Raymond Nonnatus

Today the Saintly Sixteen continues as Moses the Black faces Raymond Nonnatus and legends abound! These two fascinating souls have much to teach us about non-violence, passing judgment, and idle gossip. Yet only one will make it to the next round.

To make it this far, both saints vanquished Johns as Raymond routed John of Nepomuk while Moses took it to John Wycliffe. Is this tidbit a harbinger of saintly things to come? Probably not.

Yesterday, Mechtild of Magdeburg secured her place in the Elate Eight 52% to 48% by holding off a late charge by Odo of Cluny.

In case you missed yesterday’s episode of Monday Madness, in which Tim and Scott offer a rare glimpse behind the SEC’s purple curtain, you can watch it here.

And finally, Episcopal News Service scored a journalistic coup by gaining an exclusive interview with both members of the SEC. Read the Q & A under the title Lent Madness Duo Shines Competitive Spotlight On Saints’ Inspiring Stories. And thanks to you all for being a part of the ever-unfolding Madness this year!

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Monday Madness — March 27, 2017

Finally, you are about to accomplish something this week. That’s right, thanks to Tim and Scott, you can soon check “watched Monday Madness” off your list.

This week’s episode reveals a previously secret Monday Madness miracle. Little did you know: every single action-packed episode is a sign of…something. Also in this week’s installment, Scott demonstrates pro-level segue, and Tim does math. And would it be a complete episode without product placement? Order your 2016 Silver Halo Winner Julian of Norwich Soup Mug today!

You’re always going on about the latest teevee shows on your Facebook, so do make sure you tell all your Facebook friends how much you love Monday Madness.

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Odo of Cluny vs. Mechtild of Magdeburg

We continue our march through the Saintly Sixteen this week as Lent Madness rolls on! In this round of Quirks and Quotes we’ll continue to get to know our merry band of saintly souls in ever deeper ways. Don’t forget, you can always return to the first round to refresh your memory of the basic bios by clicking the Bracket Tab.

Today it’s Odo of Cluny taking on Mechtild of Magdeburg. To get here, Odo snuck past Theodore the Studite while Mechtild trounced Isaac the Syrian. Also, if you’re in the market for a baby name, or need to suggest one to your daughter-in-law, we think “Odo” or “Mechtild” will soon wind up on the most popular list. Get ahead of the curve!

Whoever wins today will join Stephen and Florence Nightingale (who made it past Henry Beard Delany on Friday 53% to 47%) in the Elate Eight. Onward!

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Florence Nightingale vs. Henry Beard Delany

The Saintly Sixteen continues with an intriguing matchup between two fascinating figures: Florence Nightingale and Henry Beard Delany. To make it this far, Flo bested Anselm of Canterbury while Hank dispatched Aelred of Rievaulx. But really, the choice between Nightingale and Delany is like night and day. Or at least you can’t spell “Nightingale” without “night” or Delany without “day.” So there’s that.

Yesterday in the opening battle of the Saintly Sixteen, Stephen defeated Henry Budd 59% to 41% to become the first saint of Lent Madness 2017 to make the Elate Eight. Could this be the year of the Biblical martyr? Only time…and many more votes to be cast…will tell.

Remember, this is the last vote of the week. So, vote wisely and then consider hibernating for the next 48 hours to deal with the often debilitating effects of Lent Madness Withdrawal. We’ll be back first thing Monday morning as the Saintly Sixteen continues with Odo of Cluny taking on Mechtild of Magdeburg.

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Stephen vs. Henry Budd

Welcome to the Saintly Sixteen! From 32 saints we have narrowed the field to 16. For this round, rather than the basic biographical information we enter the realm of Quirks and Quotes. Our Celebrity Bloggers will provide unusual information or legends surrounding their saints along with quotes either by or about their saints.

Don’t forget, you can always go to the Bracket Tab to easily find previous battles if you need to refresh your basic knowledge on these saints. This is yet another free courtesy extended to you, the Lent Madness Global Public.

Today we kick things off with Stephen, the Church’s protomartyr vs. the Canadian Henry Budd. At stake? The Elate Eight.

Yesterday in another close contest, Fanny Crosby defeated G.F. Handel 53% to 47% to claim the last remaining spot in the Saintly Sixteen. Speaking of which, the Saintly Sixteen begins RIGHT NOW! Time to vote…

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Fanny Crosby vs. G.F. Handel

We started this little competition on Ash Thursday with 32 saints. After today’s vote, the field will have been whittled down to 16 remaining saintly souls. But in order to get there we must first make it through the Battle of the Bands as Fanny Crosby faces G.F. Handel. Who will retain the last seat in the Saintly Sixteen before the music stops? Well, that, as always, is up to you.

Yesterday, in the tightest race of Lent Madness 2017, Sarah the Matriarch barely laughed away a valiant challenge from Elizabeth Ann Seton 51% to 49%. See, what have we been saying all along? Your vote counts!

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Elizabeth Ann Seton vs. Sarah

Today we make Lent Madness hist0ry. While Old Testament figures are considered saints in some traditions, we have never before had one participate in the Saintly Smackdown. That ends today as Sarah the Matriarch faces Elizabeth Ann Seton in a pairing that spans many, many generations.

Yesterday, in the Battle of the Consonants, Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky outspelled Nikolaus von Zinzendorf 69% to 31% to advance to the Saintly Sixteen where he’ll face Martin Luther.

If you missed yesterday’s Limerick Edition of Monday Madness, you can still redeem your entire week by watching it here. Tim and Scott share some limericks (both on air and in print) and, despite some amazing rhymes throughout yesterday’s comment section, have officially decided NOT to turn Lent Madness into one giant penitential poetry slam.

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