Mary of Bethany vs. Martha of Bethany

After a full year of holy anticipation, Lent Madness returns for another season of saintly thrills and spills! Whether this is your tenth year engaging in the annual saintly smackdown or your first, we’re delighted you’ll be spending a portion of your Lenten journey among us. Along the way there will be debates, ire, angst, rejoicing, laughter, and holy trash talking. Just remember, it’s all in the spirit of this holy season specifically set aside to grow closer to God through our relationship with Jesus Christ.

To experience the fullness of the Lent Madness experience, the Supreme Executive Committee encourages you to do several things. First, like Lent Madness on Facebook and/or follow us on Twitter. Second, subscribe to the Lent Madness e-mails so you never miss a vote. You can do this by going to the home page of our website and entering your e-mail address (near the top right). Third, you can support the ministry of Lent Madness by heading over to the Lentorium and purchasing Lent Madness swag.

But mostly, we encourage you to read about the 32 saintly souls participating in this year’s edition of Lent Madness, faithfully cast your (single!) vote on the weekdays of Lent, and add your comments to the great cloud of participating witnesses that gathers as the online Lent Madness community each year.

Lent Madness 2019, or Lent Madness X as we’ve been calling it, kicks off with a battle between two Biblical heavyweights as we settle, once and for all, the age old question: Mary vs. Martha. And before you say it, of course it’s not fair! It’s not called Lent Madness for nothing.

So, hang onto your halos, friends, and prepare yourselves for another wild ride of saintly action. Away we go!

Mary of Bethany

Mary at the feet of JesusMary of Bethany lived in first-century Bethany with her sister, Martha, and her brother, Lazarus, as we are told in the Gospel of Luke. Along with her siblings, she was among the very first to believe in Jesus.

Luke recounts the famous story of Jesus having supper at the sisters’ house, where Martha, concerned with getting the food on the table, asks Jesus to scold Mary for her apparent lack of concern. It’s notable that Mary is described as sitting at Jesus’ feet while Martha serves; usually only the male students of rabbis sat at the feet of their teachers. For Mary to do so is highly unusual for an unmarried woman—possibly why Martha gets antsy about it. But Jesus declines to chide Mary for what she has done, declaring that in her discipleship, she has “chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”

The Gospel of John also gives us a few more glimpses of Mary of Bethany. John explicitly links Mary with the woman who washes Jesus’ feet with her hair. At Lazarus’s death, both Mary and Martha race out into the street to greet Jesus when he finally comes, and Mary chastises him, echoing her sister’s words, saying “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” At her declaration, Jesus is moved to tears.

It is clear that Jesus is quite close with this family. Through contextual clues, we can tell that the family must have been fairly well-to-do, given the sisters’ independent status and ability to support Jesus’ ministry. They seem to own their house and are able to provide a separate burial site for their brother (somewhat rare—and not cheap.). We also have John’s story of Mary spending more than 300 denarii (equivalent to 300 days of wage for a laborer) on pure spikenard to anoint Jesus.

Later church tradition treated Mary as it treated many of the other women of the gospel; it elided her story into that of an Everywoman who is remarkable mostly in her blandness. The few stories that survive in the West often conflate her with Mary Magdalene. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, her uniqueness survives, and with her sister and Mary Magdalene, Mary of Bethany is remembered on the third Sunday of Easter as one of the Myrrh-Bearing Women—the first to recognize the risen Christ.

Collect for Mary of Bethany
O God, heavenly Father, your Son Jesus Christ enjoyed rest and refreshment in the home of Mary and Martha of Bethany: Give us the will to love you, open our hearts to hear you, and strengthen our hands to serve you in others for his sake; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

-Megan Castellan

Martha of Bethany

MarthaThe iconic Martha of Bethany is the hero of faithful pragmatics and doers, though she gets a bad rap for being less contemplative than her sister. When Jesus visits her house, Mary sits at his feet, but Martha feels the burdens of her role as hostess and works in the kitchen, resentful that Mary isn’t helping. When she complains, the Lord answers, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted about many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.” Because of this anecdote, Martha is seen to symbolize worldly concerns while her sister Mary focuses on the spiritual. When Jesus asks someone to open the tomb of her days-dead brother Lazarus, the heartbroken Martha stays true to her practical nature, responding, “Lord, already there is a stench.”

Although not expressly mentioned in the gospels, the Orthodox tradition honors both Martha and Mary as among the followers of Jesus who stood at Golgotha to witness the crucifixion, and later carried myrrh to his tomb to anoint the body. Thus they are counted among the first witnesses of the resurrection. This tradition also holds that Martha fled persecution in Judea with Lazarus, joining him as a missionary abroad until he became a bishop in Cyprus, where all three siblings eventually died.

According to the Golden Legend, a medieval hagiography (writing about the lives of the saints), the siblings were of noble birth. Martha put her aristocratic hostess skills to use for Jesus because, “She thought that all the world was not sufficient to serve such a guest.” The same legend holds that the family arrived in France miraculously via a ship without oars or sails to preach the gospel. The eminently practical Martha tamed a Galician dragon, “half beast and half fish, greater than an ox, longer than a horse, having teeth sharp as a sword, and horned on either side, head like a lion, tail like a serpent.” Afterward Martha lived a life of daily devotion in France until she died. A tomb in the Collegiate Church of Tarascon purportedly contains her relics.

Martha’s feast day is July 29, and she is patron saint of cooks, dietitians, domestic help, housekeepers, servants, and waitpersons. And of course, she is admired by pragmatics, doers, and practitioners of common sense.

Collect for Martha of Bethany
O God, heavenly Father, your Son Jesus Christ enjoyed rest and refreshment in the home of Mary and Martha of Bethany: Give us the will to love you, open our hearts to hear you, and strengthen our hands to serve you in others for his sake; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

-Amber Belldene

Mary of Bethany vs. Martha of Bethany

  • Martha of Bethany (58%, 6,044 Votes)
  • Mary of Bethany (42%, 4,442 Votes)

Total Voters: 10,486

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Mary of Bethany: By Internet Archive Book Images [No restrictions], via Wikimedia Commons
Martha of Bethany: By Internet Archive Book Images [No restrictions], via Wikimedia Commons

537 Comments to "Mary of Bethany vs. Martha of Bethany"

  1. Thomas M Manney's Gravatar Thomas M Manney
    March 7, 2019 - 8:03 am | Permalink

    The Madness is upon us.

    • Laura's Gravatar Laura
      March 7, 2019 - 8:38 am | Permalink

      Let the games begin!

      • Gloria's Gravatar Gloria
        March 7, 2019 - 9:09 am | Permalink

        First time playing!
        As a Martha I voted for Martha!!

        • Mary Ruth McKenney's Gravatar Mary Ruth McKenney
          March 7, 2019 - 10:09 am | Permalink

          Welcome Gloria! I had to vote Mary because she did listen and the work can always wait – besides, my name is Mary!

          • Wynne's Gravatar Wynne
            March 7, 2019 - 10:22 am | Permalink

            Without Martha no one eats, everyone lives in squalor. We Martha’s say our prayers while washing the dishes!

          • Ellen Welall's Gravatar Ellen Welall
            March 7, 2019 - 10:49 am | Permalink

            Voted for Martha. She was willing to forgo being with Jesus recognizing that she had to be a good host and welcome him. We have to recognize that this was expected and she was a pragmatist.

          • Delaney's Gravatar Delaney
            March 7, 2019 - 11:57 am | Permalink

            Mary reminds us what is most important. With Martha being “host”, she couldn’t sit and enjoy her guest, Jesus. Being a Martha can wait until the guests have left, Mary was simply enjoying the company of Jesus, something we all should strive towards. Be patient, don’t fret & overcome yourself with busy-ness, and bask in God’s presence.

          • Denise Evans's Gravatar Denise Evans
            March 7, 2019 - 2:07 pm | Permalink

            I had to go with Mary because she led with her heart. I’m too much like Martha.

        • March 7, 2019 - 11:53 am | Permalink

          I voted for Martha because that’s Batman’s mom

          • Juul Embid's Gravatar Juul Embid
            March 7, 2019 - 1:40 pm | Permalink

            Trust the process

          • Marti's Gravatar Marti
            March 7, 2019 - 7:11 pm | Permalink

            You got that right; my maiden name Martha Kent

          • Marti's Gravatar Marti
            March 7, 2019 - 7:12 pm | Permalink

            Not Batman, Superman, his earth mom

          • Jaye's Gravatar Jaye
            March 7, 2019 - 10:27 pm | Permalink

            And Martha tamed a dragon…

        • Marta's Gravatar Marta
          March 7, 2019 - 1:47 pm | Permalink

          Being a Martha, and being ragged at about this story my whole life about how Martha “complained”, I have no choice but to vote for my sister Martha.

          • Julie C Watt Faqir's Gravatar Julie C Watt Faqir
            March 7, 2019 - 2:03 pm | Permalink

            I am with you Marta 100%.

          • Ann's Gravatar Ann
            March 7, 2019 - 8:15 pm | Permalink

            I am also a Martha and need to come out of the kitchen to enjoy my guests! We all know nothing would ever get done without a Martha… so she has my vote. We can visit during and after the meal!

        • Martha's Gravatar Martha
          March 7, 2019 - 1:48 pm | Permalink

          Yay for Martha!

          • Mary Miller Cook's Gravatar Mary Miller Cook
            March 8, 2019 - 1:45 am | Permalink

            It seems that the Galician dragon was metaphoric for Martha. In taming this personal dragon
            she was able to spend the the remainder of her life in daily devotion.

        • Pat Blair's Gravatar Pat Blair
          March 7, 2019 - 3:02 pm | Permalink

          Same here.

        • Linda Murdock's Gravatar Linda Murdock
          March 7, 2019 - 5:09 pm | Permalink

          I voted for Mary because I am a Martha and wish to be more like Mary.

        • Sallie Simpson's Gravatar Sallie Simpson
          March 7, 2019 - 5:35 pm | Permalink

          Me too!

        • Dixie Snider's Gravatar Dixie Snider
          March 9, 2019 - 7:21 pm | Permalink

          It’s my tenth year. I voted with Jesus – for Mary. Going without food for a day when Jesus is in town is no big deal.

    • Gisele's Gravatar Gisele
      March 7, 2019 - 2:22 pm | Permalink

      While I live as a Martha/ a doer, inspired by Vatican II and liberation theology, I selected Mary (but only for this lent) to be my inspiration. I need to be more “in the moment” with Jesus. This is my first experience with Lentmadness and it started with a VERY difficult choice. Thank you for enriching my journey this lent.

      • Madeline's Gravatar Madeline
        March 7, 2019 - 2:36 pm | Permalink

        I love this!
        MARY for sure <3

        • Martha Huggins's Gravatar Martha Huggins
          March 7, 2019 - 10:03 pm | Permalink

          Joining the other Martha’s in the comments. We pray while we work and we get the job done

      • Pamela P.'s Gravatar Pamela P.
        March 7, 2019 - 5:35 pm | Permalink

        Well said, Gisele. Welcome to the Madness–one tough choice after another!

    • March 7, 2019 - 2:43 pm | Permalink

      Well, in today’s world; with children being ripped from their parents. Food and lodging being denied children because tax breaks for the well to do! Healthcare being denied for the hard working poor.. I had to vote for Martha, hoping we can turn these things around! Martha is a doer!

    • Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
      March 7, 2019 - 3:21 pm | Permalink

      Martha vs. Mary on the first day? Seriously? Madness for sure. Also, very bold. Today I vote for Mary, but tomorrow I’ll have second thoughts. Thanks for keeping us perpetually, spiritually humble and uncomfortable. A Lenten blessing.

  2. Michael Wachter's Gravatar Michael Wachter
    March 7, 2019 - 8:05 am | Permalink

    Such an epic battle deserves an epic Hamilton-like tribute (to the tune of “The Schuyler Sisters”):

    There’s nothing church folks love more
    Than starting Lent Madness with a bang and not a bore.
    They read their Saintly Scorecards and they gawk
    At the saintly lives of old
    When they walked the talk.
    Take Lazarus: on the bracket last year –
    Uh-oh, though beaten in the first tier
    His sisters, Mary, Martha (both from Bethany)
    First on this year’s bracket so one loses helplessly…

    (Vote, vote!)
    From Bethany
    (Vote, vote!)
    It’s Mary
    And Martha
    The Bethany Sisters
    From Bethany:
    And Martha!

    Mary: Jesus said I can lie at his feet.
    Martha: I have dishes in the sink.
    Mary: Jesus said open up the tomb.
    Martha: But from here I smell the stink.
    Both: But, bring the myrrh, bring the myrrh!
    The Resurrection’s happening near our town…
    Our town…

    • Peggy's Gravatar Peggy
      March 7, 2019 - 8:06 am | Permalink


      • Michael Wachter's Gravatar Michael Wachter
        March 7, 2019 - 8:12 am | Permalink

        Thank you!

        • Linda Barnard's Gravatar Linda Barnard
          March 7, 2019 - 11:05 am | Permalink

          Michael, you’re terrific!! I LOVE your Rap song!! Hope we hear more from your during Lent Madness!!! By the way, I voted for Martha. We Marthas are undersung… pardon the pun, Michael. 🙂

          • jean's Gravatar jean
            March 7, 2019 - 3:27 pm | Permalink

            why do we have to make a choice?

      • Karen Mallon Sharp's Gravatar Karen Mallon Sharp
        March 7, 2019 - 8:17 am | Permalink

        As a task-oriented person, I could easily vote for Martha, but, alas, my vote goes to Mary, who also provides for the rabbi Jesus.

        • Edith Green's Gravatar Edith Green
          March 7, 2019 - 11:28 am | Permalink

          Since I’m a Mary person, I had to vote for her. Yes, she didn’t help with the hosting duties but she was more interested in what the Lord had to say. I’d rather do that than wash dirty dishes!!!

    • Zoe Bradford's Gravatar Zoe Bradford
      March 7, 2019 - 8:19 am | Permalink

      Ha! That’s awesome

    • Michelle C's Gravatar Michelle C
      March 7, 2019 - 8:20 am | Permalink

      Great song! Thanks.

    • Diana's Gravatar Diana
      March 7, 2019 - 8:27 am | Permalink

      Awesome song. You should write a musical about it! Broadway Lent Madness’

    • Summer's Gravatar Summer
      March 7, 2019 - 8:31 am | Permalink

      This is by far the best thing music I’ve seen all week!

    • Mary's Gravatar Mary
      March 7, 2019 - 8:49 am | Permalink

      Very clever! I love it.

      • March 7, 2019 - 1:08 pm | Permalink

        Yes, clever, but also important. Just like debate classes in school teach that you must be able to make a convincing argument on BOTH sides of an issue. Xians should all be able to argue for both these saints (no matter how they vote). So kudos to Michael for the song and also to the SEC for scheduling this match up!

    • Kelley Brown's Gravatar Kelley Brown
      March 7, 2019 - 8:55 am | Permalink

      That made my Lent!!

    • Deborah's Gravatar Deborah
      March 7, 2019 - 8:59 am | Permalink

      This is amazing! Thanks. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have go listen to Hamilton!

    • Catherine Keyser's Gravatar Catherine Keyser
      March 7, 2019 - 9:02 am | Permalink

      Well done!

      • Mary Huber's Gravatar Mary Huber
        March 7, 2019 - 10:34 am | Permalink

        Did Martha and Mary know Jesus was coming for lunch? They could have prepared the food before hand so that
        both sisters could listen to Jesus. Otherwise Jesus could come out to the kitchen and visit with both sisters while lunch was prepared —-assuming that the three of them were hungry!

        • Christina Joy Thom's Gravatar Christina Joy Thom
          March 7, 2019 - 10:58 am | Permalink

          Jesus had a habit of just dropping in on people. Martha I’m in Altar Guild

        • LINDA's Gravatar LINDA
          March 7, 2019 - 12:05 pm | Permalink

          very 21st century of you. The kitchen is always where the party guests hang out.

    • Robyn's Gravatar Robyn
      March 7, 2019 - 9:09 am | Permalink


    • Rachel R.'s Gravatar Rachel R.
      March 7, 2019 - 9:18 am | Permalink

      This is INCREDIBLE. I love you.

    • Marian the Lutheran's Gravatar Marian the Lutheran
      March 7, 2019 - 9:30 am | Permalink

      I’ve voted Martha. No where is it mentioned that her faith, even in the beginning, was any less than Mary’s. Perhaps her thinking was “Of course he’s the messiah. Duh. I better feed him.” Perhaps her faith was so matter of fact and immediate that she could revert to her normal routine and know/believe that Jesus and God would understand.

      • Rhonda's Gravatar Rhonda
        March 7, 2019 - 9:56 am | Permalink

        IM SO EXCITED!!!
        And yes… we do FOOD!
        Martha: feed him!
        Sooooo happy to have y’all back❤️

        March 7, 2019 - 11:33 am | Permalink

        I voted for Martha as well. She was the one who went out to Jesus to talk to him about Lazarus – and hinted that he could so something about her brother’s death, if he chose to. She knew who Jesus was – and knew that she could go to him in her time of need.

        • Julie C Watt Faqir's Gravatar Julie C Watt Faqir
          March 7, 2019 - 2:19 pm | Permalink

          That is why I voted for Martha too.

      • Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
        March 7, 2019 - 12:05 pm | Permalink

        And we’re off! Welcome back, Lent Madness friends. I voted for Martha. It’s nice to be able to be the listener, but someone’s got to run the show. Martha was a doer, and her spirituality was her being the Lady of the House and providing for the Guest.

    • Michelle's Gravatar Michelle
      March 7, 2019 - 9:34 am | Permalink


    • Sue's Gravatar Sue
      March 7, 2019 - 9:35 am | Permalink

      Thank you for the fun beginning song!

    • Anne McCorkle Garrett's Gravatar Anne McCorkle Garrett
      March 7, 2019 - 9:39 am | Permalink

      I love this! Thank you so much for sharing this charming tribute to the sisters from Bethany!

    • Jane Trambley's Gravatar Jane Trambley
      March 7, 2019 - 9:42 am | Permalink

      Love it, Michael!

      • Michael Wachter's Gravatar Michael Wachter
        March 7, 2019 - 9:46 am | Permalink

        I knew you would!

        “And when I meet Mark, Matt, Luke, and John, Imma compel them to empower women in the sequel!”

    • Mariclaire's Gravatar Mariclaire
      March 7, 2019 - 9:45 am | Permalink


    • Laura's Gravatar Laura
      March 7, 2019 - 9:47 am | Permalink

      Huzzah! Well done!

    • Cindy Schuricht's Gravatar Cindy Schuricht
      March 7, 2019 - 9:51 am | Permalink

      Let the Lent Madness creativity sparks fly! Thank you.

    • Karen B Mills's Gravatar Karen B Mills
      March 7, 2019 - 10:04 am | Permalink


    • Sally's Gravatar Sally
      March 7, 2019 - 10:15 am | Permalink

      Loved it. Thank you!

    • Amy Pfluger's Gravatar Amy Pfluger
      March 7, 2019 - 10:29 am | Permalink

      Love your song tribute!

    • Sarah's Gravatar Sarah
      March 7, 2019 - 10:34 am | Permalink

      I like it!

    • Maggie's Gravatar Maggie
      March 7, 2019 - 10:58 am | Permalink

      Fabulous! Thanks for posting!

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 7, 2019 - 10:59 am | Permalink

      That’s terrific!

    • Elaine Snider's Gravatar Elaine Snider
      March 7, 2019 - 11:04 am | Permalink

      That is a great tribute! Thanks for the song to start my morning.

    • Marcia's Gravatar Marcia
      March 7, 2019 - 11:04 am | Permalink

      I just had to listen, and sing along with the new words. It was great. But alas, now I must vote!!

    • March 7, 2019 - 11:22 am | Permalink

      This is faaaaaaabulous

    • Denise's Gravatar Denise
      March 7, 2019 - 11:32 am | Permalink

      Thank you for not throwing away your shot – and hopefully not your vote! Incredible way to start Lent Madness. Are you going to have a verse for each day?!

      • Michael Wachter's Gravatar Michael Wachter
        March 7, 2019 - 1:40 pm | Permalink

        You’ll have to wait and see…

    • Larisa's Gravatar Larisa
      March 7, 2019 - 11:34 am | Permalink

      Thank you so much!

    • Shannon's Gravatar Shannon
      March 7, 2019 - 1:23 pm | Permalink

      This wins the Internet.

    • Connie Hartquist Jacobs's Gravatar Connie Hartquist Jacobs
      March 7, 2019 - 2:34 pm | Permalink


    • Laura's Gravatar Laura
      March 7, 2019 - 3:19 pm | Permalink

      Certifiably brilliant.
      My son can sing all of Hamilton; may have to hire him to sing this on Sunday in the Narthex…

    • Laura Green's Gravatar Laura Green
      March 7, 2019 - 3:25 pm | Permalink

      Wow! This is beautiful.

    • Denese Edsall's Gravatar Denese Edsall
      March 7, 2019 - 4:49 pm | Permalink

      Loved this!

    • Pat watson's Gravatar Pat watson
      March 7, 2019 - 7:39 pm | Permalink

      Very good, I can hear the music!

    • March 7, 2019 - 10:48 pm | Permalink

      “Lent Madness: The Musical” – brilliant!

  3. Peggy's Gravatar Peggy
    March 7, 2019 - 8:05 am | Permalink

    This is Lent.

  4. K-Roz's Gravatar K-Roz
    March 7, 2019 - 8:07 am | Permalink

    Because one of my tasks today is finding out where all of the church kitchen cooking and serving utensils have gone (as in disappeared), my vote is for Martha of Bethany.

      March 7, 2019 - 8:14 am | Permalink

      A necessary and thankless task!

    • Ann G.'s Gravatar Ann G.
      March 7, 2019 - 8:35 am | Permalink

      As a “Martha” I concur! #VoteMartha

    • Nancy Usher Williams's Gravatar Nancy Usher Williams
      March 7, 2019 - 9:02 am | Permalink

      We more often have to put out extra casserole dishes and such, asking people to claim them! Good luck!!!

    • Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
      March 7, 2019 - 9:12 am | Permalink

      May St. Anthony pitch in with Martha to guide your way, lest you wind up serving only finger foods such as loaves and fishes.

      • Susan C's Gravatar Susan C
        March 7, 2019 - 9:28 am | Permalink


    • JustMeJo's Gravatar JustMeJo
      March 7, 2019 - 9:40 am | Permalink

      Afterwards, you are welcome to help me in the never-ending search for whateveritis that has vanished from the Sacristy this week!

    • Christina Joy Thom's Gravatar Christina Joy Thom
      March 7, 2019 - 11:04 am | Permalink

      Label them or write the name of the church in bright red nail polish. Yes I have a place in our church kitchen.

  5. Rian Restau's Gravatar Rian Restau
    March 7, 2019 - 8:09 am | Permalink

    vote for Mary!!!!!

  6. dewluca's Gravatar dewluca
    March 7, 2019 - 8:09 am | Permalink

    I’m not seeing any comments . . . though clearly I’m not the first to vote. As the daughter of a Martha . . . I went for Mary in the spirit of “Let me read my book . . . who cares about housework!” 🙂

    • dewluca's Gravatar dewluca
      March 7, 2019 - 8:10 am | Permalink

      hmmm. once I posted the comment I can see the others . . . let the madness begin!

    • The Stranger's Gravatar The Stranger
      March 7, 2019 - 10:12 am | Permalink

      Exactly! Jesus said: “Mary has chosen the better part”. How then can you vote for Martha?

      • Patricia's Gravatar Patricia
        March 7, 2019 - 11:07 am | Permalink

        I voted for Martha and am shocked to see that she is trending in the majority because Mary is usually the favored one! Maybe Mary was Jesus’ favorite sister so he wanted her attention. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t care for her; he didn’t dismiss her in an ugly way – it’s almost a rueful comment. Besides, I am sure the other guests wanted dinner even if Jesus didn’t. (Just kidding.)

        • Andria Anderson's Gravatar Andria Anderson
          March 8, 2019 - 8:24 am | Permalink

          I was most impressed this year in how brave Mary was to step outside cultural norms and demonstrate that a WOMAN could claim a studious spot among the disciples. You’ve got to guess that while Martha voices her criticism, male disciples were all whispering about that uppity woman, too. No wonder Jesus had to specifically address the issue.

  7. Rian Restau's Gravatar Rian Restau
    March 7, 2019 - 8:10 am | Permalink

    yessssss Lent is upon us vote for Mary!!!!

  8. Harriet's Gravatar Harriet
    March 7, 2019 - 8:11 am | Permalink

    Have always felt sorry for Martha. No one would help with her domestic chores! Can you see the apostles helping out and washing the dishes?

    • Betsey's Gravatar Betsey
      March 7, 2019 - 8:13 am | Permalink

      The gospels were written by men. Perhaps if Mary was allowed an extra special spot, some of the apostles also helped with the dishes, but no apostle would include that bit in writing 🙂

    • Sara's Gravatar Sara
      March 7, 2019 - 8:50 am | Permalink

      I’ve always thought that maybe Martha was cranky because she would have liked some time to listen and think too! Maybe if everyone had taken a little time in the kitchen, Martha would have been able to come out and hear the teaching now and then.

      • Suellen Nelson's Gravatar Suellen Nelson
        March 7, 2019 - 9:50 am | Permalink

        Yes, yes!!!!

      • Patricia's Gravatar Patricia
        March 7, 2019 - 11:09 am | Permalink

        Yes, Sara – I agree. (Wish there were a “like” button.)

      • Rona's Gravatar Rona
        March 7, 2019 - 12:12 pm | Permalink

        I agree with Wynne, often sing praise/prayers while I’m doing house keeping and dishes. I also know that Jesus said, “Mary has chosen the better part”, but still I #voteMartha, because I can totally relate to feeling like I’m the only one doing anything to accomplish a benefit (food, provision) for everyone. I also think Jesus would have gotten up to help and work alongside with Martha and encourage Mary to help out, too, but that is not written in the scriptures. I hate to think that Jesus has favorites. I love the “Sisters from Bethany” Hamilton rap ,- thank you so much, Michael Wachter. Lent Madness! I will promote this at St James Episcopal here in Waimea where I have the privilege to serve as the choir director.

        • andrea's Gravatar andrea
          March 8, 2019 - 12:31 am | Permalink

          Like. I’ve always thought that Jesus would have gotten up to help Martha too. I also sing when I’m doing dishes :). I voted for Martha, because 1)she tamed a dragon, 2)what she said when she met Jesus on the road after Lazarus died, (John 11:21-27), 3) I appreciate all the hard work of being a host, 4) She is the patron saint of housekeepers and domestic help, and I love a clean house!

      • LSM's Gravatar LSM
        March 7, 2019 - 12:30 pm | Permalink

        I have always thought the same thing. Mary was able to choose “the better part,” because Martha was there to do the chores. When was Martha ever invited to choose?

      • Pat's Gravatar Pat
        March 7, 2019 - 12:37 pm | Permalink

        Aboslutely! I listen from the kitchen as much as I can since, when unexpected guest appear, there seems to be this compulsion to feed them *something*. Dishes can wait, I agree, and usually they do; however food cannot for too long.

    • Margaret P Hasselman's Gravatar Margaret P Hasselman
      March 7, 2019 - 12:41 pm | Permalink

      I’ve always thought Martha was treated unfairly. Someone has to fix the food! I remember the hurt of being treated as helper in the kitchen while it seemed as if everyone else was having fun and taking me for granted. Would Jesus really have wanted himself and all his company to go without food? I picture Martha listening from the wings – not ignoring what was being said, but wishing she could participate like her sister.

    • Pamela P.'s Gravatar Pamela P.
      March 7, 2019 - 5:41 pm | Permalink

      Exactly my thoughts, Harriet. Think of all the complaining that would ensue when dinner wasn’t available!

  9. Betsey's Gravatar Betsey
    March 7, 2019 - 8:12 am | Permalink

    I loved learning how Mary’s seating spot was something more special than I’d known before, and I wondered how I could ever cross Jesus for declaring Mary had “chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her,” but, but, but .. patron saint of cooks .. Martha gets my “madness” vote.

    March 7, 2019 - 8:12 am | Permalink

    I voted for Martha, because she is like so many of us, showing her love with food and hospitality, and sometimes trapped in what we should do rather than what we could do.

    • Sue's Gravatar Sue
      March 7, 2019 - 9:36 am | Permalink

      I’m with you!

    • Deborah Smith's Gravatar Deborah Smith
      March 7, 2019 - 10:56 am | Permalink

      I don’t feel trapped. I was raised in the Martha role, but didn’t actually know it. Women today (in general) are not taught how to “entertain”. All that being said, if Jesus came to my house today I would offer him a glass of wine then sit at his feet.

      • Patricia's Gravatar Patricia
        March 7, 2019 - 11:10 am | Permalink

        Yes, yes – great answer!

  11. Oliver—11 years old's Gravatar Oliver—11 years old
    March 7, 2019 - 8:12 am | Permalink

    I vote for Mary because she picked the better part.

    • Robyn's Gravatar Robyn
      March 7, 2019 - 9:11 am | Permalink

      Oliver…so glad to hear from you again this year!!

    • Miss Jennifer's Gravatar Miss Jennifer
      March 7, 2019 - 10:15 am | Permalink

      Me too, Oliver! Although I was tempted by Martha slaying that beast.
      I miss you and your parents. Please tell them I say hello!

    • Mary E. Winston's Gravatar Mary E. Winston
      March 7, 2019 - 10:38 am | Permalink

      Oliver you are back and I am so happy!! I voted for Mary too!!!

    • Beth's Gravatar Beth
      March 7, 2019 - 11:19 am | Permalink

      Great to see you, Oliver. I voted for Mary also, I’m trying to be more like her

    • VT Patty's Gravatar VT Patty
      March 7, 2019 - 12:26 pm | Permalink

      Hooray! Oliver is back!

  12. Pailet - age 7's Gravatar Pailet - age 7
    March 7, 2019 - 8:12 am | Permalink

    We voted for Martha because she tamed the half-fish, half-dragon. It was crazy!

    • Shakura's Gravatar Shakura
      March 7, 2019 - 9:25 am | Permalink

      I agree with you, Pailet! I thought the dragon was amazing. I voted for Martha, too.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 7, 2019 - 11:02 am | Permalink

      Hi Paillet, I’m with you!

    • Barbara L Ross's Gravatar Barbara L Ross
      March 7, 2019 - 12:21 pm | Permalink

      The dragon part got my vote, too. Years ago, I visited the south of France and read that she tamed the dragon and led it away with her girdle (clearly a different kind of garment then) as a leash!

    • VT Patty's Gravatar VT Patty
      March 7, 2019 - 12:29 pm | Permalink

      I’m with you, Pailet!

    • Denise Bell's Gravatar Denise Bell
      March 7, 2019 - 1:46 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you Pailet, I liked the story about the dragon, but saw it as representing all of the challenges we have to face down, including illness. Martha was practical, but faced down serious difficulties with her bravery.

      • LOIS Strait's Gravatar LOIS Strait
        March 8, 2019 - 5:33 am | Permalink

        As a caregiver I have to face many challenges each day but also be practical and get my housework done and provide meals it is not always easy but with Gods help it can be done and still find quite times to pray

  13. Barbara A Gutzler's Gravatar Barbara A Gutzler
    March 7, 2019 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    Martha gets my vote. She is generous and practical, capable of seeing things realistically while not losing her devotion to her God. And I’m a darn good cook and hostess. Martha is my soulmate!!

    • Sue's Gravatar Sue
      March 7, 2019 - 9:40 am | Permalink

      Thank you for putting it that way. I feel the same way. Almost everyone seems to try to make you feel guilty for liking and being like Martha.

  14. LEHall's Gravatar LEHall
    March 7, 2019 - 8:18 am | Permalink

    I was all set to vote for Mary, but then I found out that Martha purportedly tamed a dragon!

  15. Jo's Gravatar Jo
    March 7, 2019 - 8:18 am | Permalink

    Voted for Martha, because dragon. (Taming one and teaching it to sing psalms, if I recall the Golden Legend correctly, which is much more impressive than slaying one),

    • March 7, 2019 - 9:05 am | Permalink

      My thoughts exactly. The dragon in these stories represents the hidden chaos of our inner selves. The guys always slay the dragon. But it is out of chaos that creation comes. Martha reconciles rather than represses.

      • Nell's Gravatar Nell
        March 7, 2019 - 9:55 am | Permalink

        You just know that Mary stood there screaming “help Martha there’s a big scary dragon”…..

        • Willa's Gravatar Willa
          March 7, 2019 - 11:51 am | Permalink

          With no last name, I know who posted this!

        • Andria Anderson's Gravatar Andria Anderson
          March 8, 2019 - 8:32 am | Permalink


    • Nadine Grady's Gravatar Nadine Grady
      March 7, 2019 - 9:23 am | Permalink

      Oh, that’s even better!

  16. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    March 7, 2019 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    My first vote for Lent Madness 2019 – just really exciting!!! My vote was for Martha because I feel she is so much like me, although I would be happy if Mary won. Today’s outcome could go either way – they are both wonderful women, an example to follow.

  17. Kathy Munroe's Gravatar Kathy Munroe
    March 7, 2019 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    I’m a doer- Martha it is!!

  18. Martha Watson's Gravatar Martha Watson
    March 7, 2019 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    My vote reflects my admiration for Martha’s deep face. With Lazarus dead, Mary follows the traditional path of weeping and wailing. Martha goes to meet Jesus and affirms his power even over death. We tend to overlook her faithfulness and faith to concentrate on her busyness.

    • Martha Watson's Gravatar Martha Watson
      March 7, 2019 - 8:22 am | Permalink

      Oops. Autocorrect at work. I meant her deep faith!

    • Anne's Gravatar Anne
      March 7, 2019 - 9:14 am | Permalink

      Yes! That was my thought, too!

    • Beth Graboski's Gravatar Beth Graboski
      March 7, 2019 - 9:17 am | Permalink

      Exactly Martha Watson! I agree!

    • Patricia's Gravatar Patricia
      March 7, 2019 - 11:12 am | Permalink

      Oh, Martha – what a lovely and affirming comment. Thank you!

  19. M&L's Gravatar M&L
    March 7, 2019 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    Of course Martha’s ahead at this early hour. It’s only the early risers who vote for Martha. The Mary fans are still sleeping – waiting for Martha to bring them coffee.

    • Karen's Gravatar Karen
      March 7, 2019 - 8:25 am | Permalink

      That’s right. Will be an exciting day.

      March 7, 2019 - 9:04 am | Permalink

      I had to laugh, there is so much truth in your post!

    • Barbara Gay's Gravatar Barbara Gay
      March 7, 2019 - 9:27 am | Permalink

      Too funny and too true!

    • March 7, 2019 - 9:29 am | Permalink

      Right this moment, as at this time every morning, my husband is in the middle of an hour of sitting meditation, and I have fed the cat, split wood and built a fire in the wood-burning stove, and will soon be fixing breakfast. It takes both kinds of people for the good world to go ’round!

      • Karen's Gravatar Karen
        March 7, 2019 - 10:57 am | Permalink

        I agree, Janet. And I think that is the lesson that Jesus intended: Do what you are called to do and quit fretting about what others are called to do. I’m hoping Martha got the message as she continued to serve the Jesus movement, since I voted for her.

    • Susan C's Gravatar Susan C
      March 7, 2019 - 9:33 am | Permalink

      Very observant! I voted for Mary because she knew what counts is the teachings of Jesus. Martha seemed a little passive aggressive to me. And why should the women be relegated to the kitchen while the men get to be with the guest of honor? I’m with Mary.

    • Sue's Gravatar Sue
      March 7, 2019 - 9:42 am | Permalink

      I’m still laughing at that thought! Thanks. But I hope Martha wins.

    • Ellen Gracie's Gravatar Ellen Gracie
      March 7, 2019 - 9:46 am | Permalink

      Lol. Just got up and voted for – Mary!! Grins

  20. Jennifer Rich's Gravatar Jennifer Rich
    March 7, 2019 - 8:22 am | Permalink

    A simple explanation for my Martha vote – I’m always on the side of the underdog! But seriously, I think most of us would be Marthas rather than Marys in this situation. Faith is often a hard choice but one I constantly strive for.

  21. JC Olbrych's Gravatar JC Olbrych
    March 7, 2019 - 8:22 am | Permalink

    Yesterday was a Martha day but today is a Mary day- so, Mary it is.

  22. Diana's Gravatar Diana
    March 7, 2019 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    Martha is my Saint today. She gets too little credit, and none at all in the church for making the same announcement for which Peter gets a whole extra feast day. Martha, too, recognized and confessed Jesus as Messiah.

  23. Wendy Saunders's Gravatar Wendy Saunders
    March 7, 2019 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    Have always had a soft spot for Martha, and the image of Martha supposedly taming a dragon made my mind up!

  24. Ruth Davis's Gravatar Ruth Davis
    March 7, 2019 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    I am a ‘Martha’ to my bones, and I appreciate the ‘do-ers’ of the world.

  25. Harry's Gravatar Harry
    March 7, 2019 - 8:24 am | Permalink

    Great Song…Excellent way to launch this year’s Maddness

  26. Nancy Jerome's Gravatar Nancy Jerome
    March 7, 2019 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    I voted for Martha. If she hadn’t kept the household running, Mary would not have been able to sit at Jesus’ feet either.

  27. Sheila's Gravatar Sheila
    March 7, 2019 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    A friends father died. A group of five women got together to serve a meal to the family between viewing times. As the family was eating, I sat on a couch chatting with the oldest son when I saw one of my kitchen friends motioning to me to join them in the kitchen. I looked up at her and said, “Martha, I choose to stay here”. I’ve had plenty of Martha moments but I voted for Mary as Jeanne and I refer to ourselves at Martha and Mary. I’m sure she will vote Martha.

  28. Carolyn D. Mack's Gravatar Carolyn D. Mack
    March 7, 2019 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    I venerate Mary because Jesus’s reaction to Martha’s scolding has always told me that women were and are equal disciples for Jesus. So many messages within churches are on the other side. While busyness is necessary in life and in the church, I will always prefer the spiritual to the earthly concerns with Mary of Bethany and Jesus. Here’s to Mary, a Lily of the Field!

    • Susan C's Gravatar Susan C
      March 7, 2019 - 9:39 am | Permalink

      YES! That’s exactly the message I got. There’s no reason Mary had to be in the kitchen. Why didn’t Martha scold James or Simon to help out? Actually, why didn’t any of the visitors offer to help Martha? For me it was about dragging the only woman away from the central benefit of the event – listening to Jesus. I would hope that if Jesus showed up at my church, everyone would be listening with rapt attention, not being a martyr in the kitchen. When it’s time to eat, order pizza!

    • Larry's Gravatar Larry
      March 7, 2019 - 11:50 am | Permalink

      Indeed, it’s important to remember that Christianity recognizes the equality of women, and that the inclusion of women was a factor in its spread throughout the world. Emperor Constantine was deeply influenced by his mother and wife to convert the Roman Empire, and we find the same influence repeated often. The sisters, Mary and Martha, along with Mary Magdalene, set the example for women religious, and their treatment as equals brought many into the Church.

  29. Judy Hoover's Gravatar Judy Hoover
    March 7, 2019 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    I had to vote for Martha, a practical person. Somebody has to do the thankless chores and she put her devotion to work.

  30. Michelle C's Gravatar Michelle C
    March 7, 2019 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    I’ve always felt Martha was given a raw deal in that story. Here she’s had at least 13 people descend on her household and probably more since Jesus drew a crowd wherever He went. Her tradition said she needed to feed and serve all these people. What housewife wouldn’t be frantic and expect her sister to help because, again, tradition said that was woman’s work. Besides I couldn’t resist a dragon tamer. So, Martha for me today.

    • Laurie Gibbons's Gravatar Laurie Gibbons
      March 7, 2019 - 9:23 am | Permalink

      I’m with you. I’ve always felt a kinship with Martha, who was doing all the work while Mary sat there with Jesus, and then she was chided for not doing the better part! I had no idea about the dragon taming – that’s just the cherry on top.

  31. March 7, 2019 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    So grateful for another Lent Madness round of saints.

    Thanks so much to Megan and Amber for starting us off well. I am Team Mary of Bethany today.

    • March 7, 2019 - 6:23 pm | Permalink

      That’s how I voted on my sheet. Unfortunately, there is no radio button for me to cast my vote for Mary of Bethany. 🙁

  32. Shannon's Gravatar Shannon
    March 7, 2019 - 8:28 am | Permalink

    Sister vs. Sister – what a great way to begin the Madness! I voted for Mary because she did not behave as expected. Plus, I hate to cook.

    • Philip Harrington's Gravatar Philip Harrington
      March 7, 2019 - 1:04 pm | Permalink

      Yes, yes. Bold Mary boldly affirms Jesus in believing that women can be disciples, too!

  33. Marie-Luise Faber's Gravatar Marie-Luise Faber
    March 7, 2019 - 8:28 am | Permalink

    I myself am a Martha but strive to be more like Mary, to try to reflect more and do less. I take on many organizations and tasks, mostly for my kids, but is that always the right way? Service to God can have many different forms!

  34. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    March 7, 2019 - 8:29 am | Permalink

    I liked Martha’s story, and in a way, wanted to vote for her as I am so much more a Martha than a Mary, attentive to worldly needs, as so many of us are. So, I voted for Mary because I like to believe that she struggled with this – that it was a difficult choice for her to give up her usual concerns and sit at Jesus’ feet – knowing she would earn her sister’s, and probably many others’, disapproval.

    • Sonia's Gravatar Sonia
      March 7, 2019 - 11:45 am | Permalink

      I don’t think Mary gave it a thought. She just did what she was called to do at the moment and likewise so did Martha although she did complain a bit. I’m afraid if I did what Mary did, however, I would feel terribly guilty at letting Martha do all the work.

  35. Earle King's Gravatar Earle King
    March 7, 2019 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    If Martha of Bethany makes it to the next round, don’t forget to reference Rudyard Kipling’s poem “Sons of Martha.”

    • Becky Smith's Gravatar Becky Smith
      March 8, 2019 - 12:10 pm | Permalink

      My father used to read Kipling to us often at bedtime. I was unfamiliar with this poem, though. Thank you.

  36. June's Gravatar June
    March 7, 2019 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    I’ve always liked Mary more but Martha gets my vote because –
    1. Dragon!!
    2. Jan Brady Vibes (It’s always Mary Mary Mary) and I’m the Jan of my family too
    3. Patron saint of restaurant workers – and I married a chef and worked my way through college as a waitress and Lord knows in that work one needs a saint on one’s shoulder.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 7, 2019 - 11:07 am | Permalink

      Jan Brady! I love it!

  37. Nancy Evans's Gravatar Nancy Evans
    March 7, 2019 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    I concur. I identify more with Martha.

  38. March 7, 2019 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    This is well-written. I’ve never loved that I identify with Martha before. This gave me some perspective.

  39. Debbie Northern's Gravatar Debbie Northern
    March 7, 2019 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    Sibling rivalry!! I vote for Martha, the pragmatic one. The gang would have been hungry and thirsty without her. She shows true hospitality to her guests.

    • March 7, 2019 - 9:21 am | Permalink

      Exactly, Debbie. I’m with you all the way.

    • Mardi's Gravatar Mardi
      March 7, 2019 - 10:29 am | Permalink

      As the second daughter in a family of 10 I was always tasked to get extra chairs or set another place at the table when guests dropped in. My little sister would be goofing off in the living room. I totally identify with Martha.

    • Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
      March 7, 2019 - 11:14 am | Permalink

      I’ve always been surprised that Martha didn’t look Jesus in the eye and say “If I sit with Mary and listen to you, everyone’s going to be hungry very soon. That bread isn’t going to bake itself.” Jesus and his apostles were guests in her home, so she knew she was expected to feed them.

      And yes she could have complained about her brother Lazarus not doing his share of the host work either, but in that culture his job was probably to keep the guests’ cups filled. And 13 thirsty men who’d been journeying all day likely required frequent refills.

      • Michelle C's Gravatar Michelle C
        March 7, 2019 - 2:27 pm | Permalink

        Well said, Tessa!

  40. Susan Reeves's Gravatar Susan Reeves
    March 7, 2019 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    Voted for Martha. Her busy-ness (if that’s a word) helps the hospitality and environment for Mary’s Jesus experience. There is holiness in everyday gifts of time and talent, as Martha shows us.

  41. Jane Christmas's Gravatar Jane Christmas
    March 7, 2019 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    Martha is the poster gal for the Benedictine tradition of hospitality. Sure, Mary does her part by keeping Jesus company while her sister toils in the kitchen, but after an hour or so of chit-chat what brings people to the table (literally) is food and drink. So my vote is for Martha, the hostess with the most-est!

  42. Kaye Bellot's Gravatar Kaye Bellot
    March 7, 2019 - 8:35 am | Permalink

    As a member of the comfort and support guild here at St. Andrews I am behind my girl Martha!

  43. Kate the Catechist's Gravatar Kate the Catechist
    March 7, 2019 - 8:36 am | Permalink

    Go Martha! She served the Lord!

  44. Betsy's Gravatar Betsy
    March 7, 2019 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    Close one! Not to put down Martha at all (and our celebrity blogger told a great legend about her!) but I voted for Mary-I admire her first century feminism in sitting at Jesus’ feet to learn along with the men. Although not included here she has an important theological discussion with Jesus at the assumed death of her brother Lazarus. Finally, she reminds us of the importance of having a contemplative side—it does not mean that an industrious side that cares for the physical needs of others is not important, but for women especially we need that reminder to participate in the entire sphere of life.

  45. Sandy Warren's Gravatar Sandy Warren
    March 7, 2019 - 8:41 am | Permalink

    I have always loved Martha, huffing around the kitchen when she should have been choosing the better part. What a happy surprise to see her ahead of the wiser Mary in the early voting!

  46. Katherine Grimes's Gravatar Katherine Grimes
    March 7, 2019 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    One of the finest and most helpful members of St. Peter’s in the Mountains in Callaway, Virginia, is Martha in name and spirit. She also leads adult Sunday school. In a sense, she’s both a Mary and a Martha. My vote is for her.

  47. Tess's Gravatar Tess
    March 7, 2019 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    In this overbusy world, we need more Marys who show us the value of settling down and attending fully to the gifts of the day. Especially when Jesus is in your living room!

    • March 7, 2019 - 1:00 pm | Permalink

      Amen. As a pastor, I’ve often heard Martha’s voice in the complaint about those only come to worship and “leave all the work to us.” And I’ve usually sympathized with the Marthas. But Jesus takes Mary’s side here. And there is a reason for it.

  48. Johanne Hills's Gravatar Johanne Hills
    March 7, 2019 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    Horrible first choice. The closer Jesus comes to Jerusalem and Golgotha the more he needs human love and support. Before he entered Jerusalem for the last time, he went to the sisters home in Bethany, just outside the city. I cannot even begin to imagine how much Martha’s ordinary compassion and food and comfort thoughtfulness would have meant to him. Yet, I voted for Mary because her declaration at the time of Lazarus’ “death” puts her right up there with Peter’s ” you are the Promised One”. Not a fun choice for this first day!

    • jproth's Gravatar jproth
      March 7, 2019 - 9:37 am | Permalink

      It was MARTHA who made the same declaration as Peter! Mary wept.

  49. Martha Camele's Gravatar Martha Camele
    March 7, 2019 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    Well, of course I had to vote for Martha …

  50. Carol Goddard's Gravatar Carol Goddard
    March 7, 2019 - 8:44 am | Permalink

    While both Mary and Martha were devoted followers of Jesus, I voted for Mary because I think I would have liked to have sat and listened to Jesus speak – food for the soul. I was reminded of The Kitchen prayer.

  51. Susan Lawson's Gravatar Susan Lawson
    March 7, 2019 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    And you know Jesus and his male friends expected to be fed (and cleaned up after!) once the teaching was done!

  52. Sara Strattan's Gravatar Sara Strattan
    March 7, 2019 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    I voted with reservations because sisters should not be in competition.

  53. Bill Cox's Gravatar Bill Cox
    March 7, 2019 - 8:46 am | Permalink

    As a Verger, I cast my vote for Martha.

  54. Mindy's Gravatar Mindy
    March 7, 2019 - 8:46 am | Permalink

    Unfair to have us choose between these sisters so early in the race! Like choosing a favorite child! They are both loved for their individuality. It would have been a great final. I voted for Mary in the end despite living them equally, because I’m more like her at my core and not at my best when my Martha comes out… though many others are the opposite and thank God for them!

  55. Gwendolyn Wright's Gravatar Gwendolyn Wright
    March 7, 2019 - 8:46 am | Permalink

    Please vote for Martha! As the mum of two chefs, pastry and savories, I must implore you to vote for our favorite patron saint. Martha of Bethany!

  56. RuthMary Gens's Gravatar RuthMary Gens
    March 7, 2019 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    As I find feeding and serving my parish a calling and ministry there was not doubt in my mind who to vote for!

  57. Nolan McBride's Gravatar Nolan McBride
    March 7, 2019 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    It’s a hard choice because they’re both awesome, but I went with Mary. This is my first lent madness I get to celebrate as an Episcopalian!

      March 7, 2019 - 9:03 am | Permalink


  58. Carolyn's Gravatar Carolyn
    March 7, 2019 - 8:50 am | Permalink

    Mary seems already to get major saintly recognition for her choice, so for my
    choice , I say Martha this time around!

  59. Judy Stribley's Gravatar Judy Stribley
    March 7, 2019 - 8:54 am | Permalink

    This is a tough one!
    But I see Martha as the example of what most humans do in thinking “doing and providing” should be done to show love. I believe Mary is the epitome of intentionality. Being intentional in one’s life has become so important in this world of busy, busy, hurry, scurry!

  60. Diane Walworth's Gravatar Diane Walworth
    March 7, 2019 - 8:54 am | Permalink

    I’m glad for the return of Lenten Madness. I had to vote for Martha because I’m such a Martha myself!

  61. Debs Voorhees's Gravatar Debs Voorhees
    March 7, 2019 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    Really! Martha has a lot of ‘Church Lady’ fans!

  62. Betsy Murphy's Gravatar Betsy Murphy
    March 7, 2019 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    I vote for Martha. I think that she does not get enough credit. The doers allow the meditators the ability to practice.

  63. March 7, 2019 - 8:58 am | Permalink

    Voted for Mary. Sometimes it’s best to sit and listen.

  64. Leila Konas's Gravatar Leila Konas
    March 7, 2019 - 8:58 am | Permalink

    Team Mary.. wish I could be more like her.

  65. Dorothy Tay's Gravatar Dorothy Tay
    March 7, 2019 - 9:00 am | Permalink

    What a hard choice , but decided that I had to sit an listen to my Lord before I had strength to be a Martha , so first things first. Mary gets my vote.

  66. Lonna Salazar's Gravatar Lonna Salazar
    March 7, 2019 - 9:01 am | Permalink

    Martha has my vote!

  67. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    March 7, 2019 - 9:01 am | Permalink

    I am often like Martha. But I am older now and less inclined to care about messes. So dinner will be late. Come join me, Martha, at Jesus feet. I have so many questions.

  68. Beth Parkhurst's Gravatar Beth Parkhurst
    March 7, 2019 - 9:01 am | Permalink

    In Mary and Marrtha’s time on earth — and in many cultures even today — women were expected to stay in the kitchen while men were at leisure in another part of the house. Mary broke that barrier, joining the other disciples.

    • Donald Harting's Gravatar Donald Harting
      March 7, 2019 - 1:03 pm | Permalink

      are you my cousin?

  69. Mary's Gravatar Mary
    March 7, 2019 - 9:01 am | Permalink

    I’m a newbie at Lent Madness, having watched from the sidelines the past couple of years, so please be gentle with me.
    I voted for Martha because that’s the mode in which I often find myself. My heart wants to be a Mary, but too often my day mirrors Mark 1:35-37: “…went to a deserted place, and there he prayed. Simon and his companions hunted for him…everyone is looking for you.”

    I will say that (at the moment I am posting this) I’m surprised the Martha holds such a commanding lead over Mary, 59% to 41%.

  70. Amy C.'s Gravatar Amy C.
    March 7, 2019 - 9:02 am | Permalink

    Without the Marthas of our world we would not have community. And to be a dragon slayer! George and Martha, I have heard of them before.

  71. Mary O'Donnell's Gravatar Mary O'Donnell
    March 7, 2019 - 9:03 am | Permalink

    When receiving company I think it prudent for one person to receive the guest and make them feel welcome while another prepares coffee, tea and a snack. Jesus makes it clear that receiving the guest is more important.

  72. Pris's Gravatar Pris
    March 7, 2019 - 9:03 am | Permalink

    Hard choice. Mary was like my mom while met the was like my Aunt. Both dearly loved. I think we need to be a bit of both.

  73. Pat R.'s Gravatar Pat R.
    March 7, 2019 - 9:04 am | Permalink

    I’m for Martha…. the perpetual unappreciated hard-working underdog! My patron saint…..

  74. Janice Pauc's Gravatar Janice Pauc
    March 7, 2019 - 9:05 am | Permalink

    Great song. And the madness begins with a strong matchup.

  75. Kris's Gravatar Kris
    March 7, 2019 - 9:05 am | Permalink

    I have three younger brothers and tend to micromanage and be bossy, so I voted for Martha. What I notice in this story is that Lazarus (who has good reason to be grateful) is not doing anything to welcome Jesus. Both Mary and Martha are committed to their Lord. This is probably the only matchup where I don’t care who wins, possibly because nobody will vote for Lazarus.

  76. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    March 7, 2019 - 9:05 am | Permalink

    I chose Mary because of her curiosity and courage to defy cultural norms to sit with the men and listen to this fascinating rabbi named Jesus. Some people think Mary shirked her hostess duties. Who knows, maybe she bought the food, did the cooking prep work and washed the dishes later.

  77. John Cabot's Gravatar John Cabot
    March 7, 2019 - 9:05 am | Permalink

    My vote is for Martha of Bethany
    Since credit she rarely did get any
    For loaves and grilled fishes
    And countless washed dishes
    That hard-working Martha of Bethany.

    • Sue's Gravatar Sue
      March 7, 2019 - 9:45 am | Permalink

      I love it! So true!

  78. Kathy Hartley's Gravatar Kathy Hartley
    March 7, 2019 - 9:05 am | Permalink

    Although my actual first name is Mary, I behave more like a Martha. God uses our hands and feet to do His work in the world, and that leads me to Martha. But it was a TOUGH choice, thank you so much, Tim and Scott. Glad that Lent Madness is X is finally here.

  79. Leann Wilson's Gravatar Leann Wilson
    March 7, 2019 - 9:06 am | Permalink

    As a budding contemplative and Eckhart Tolle fan… I have to say that Mary embodies (to me) the real act of “being in the now”. She gets my vote.

  80. Lygia Topolovec's Gravatar Lygia Topolovec
    March 7, 2019 - 9:07 am | Permalink

    Thank you to all who posted such fine words about Martha. Your words helped me appreciate so much more what she offered. My vote goes to her today!

  81. Faye's Gravatar Faye
    March 7, 2019 - 9:08 am | Permalink

    Sup?…had to look up both elided and spikenard this morning…

  82. Don Harting's Gravatar Don Harting
    March 7, 2019 - 9:08 am | Permalink

    Mary gets my vote because she seems to have mastered the idea that there’s a time to contemplate, and there’s a time to act.

  83. Cassie's Gravatar Cassie
    March 7, 2019 - 9:10 am | Permalink


    For the sake of her kickass confession in John 11. May we all answer so gutsily to the question Christ asks: “Do you believe this?”

  84. Joyelle Wiemer's Gravatar Joyelle Wiemer
    March 7, 2019 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    As an ordained female I was inclined to vote for Mary. Jesus’ assurance, “and it will not be taken from her” are a consolation to me whenever I hear the old arguments reducing women’s existence to motherhood and housekeeping (and as a mother and homemaker I don’t have issue with either role, just with the limitation to only those roles). But the vision of a homemaker fighting off a dragon was too delicious to pass up! I propose we add Martha to the Marvel universe!

    • Megan's Gravatar Megan
      March 7, 2019 - 10:52 am | Permalink

      I would totally go see that movie. I’m in.

  85. Diane Manko-Cliff's Gravatar Diane Manko-Cliff
    March 7, 2019 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    As someone who loves to serve, but also wants to listen and take part in activities, my vote goes to Martha.

  86. David Bains's Gravatar David Bains
    March 7, 2019 - 9:14 am | Permalink

    I voted for Martha. I think she’ll win. I like her better. But since Jesus said Mary was better, it would seem that I and everyone else who votes for Martha are not very good disciples.

  87. March 7, 2019 - 9:16 am | Permalink

    If I were Jesus, would I rather have a young woman sitting at my feet and looking up adoringly at me or one preparing me some delicious fried chicken and pouring me a glass of beer? The first is nice, but you do get hungry after awhile, if you know what I mean.

    • Shelly Neighbors's Gravatar Shelly Neighbors
      March 7, 2019 - 9:19 am | Permalink

      So true!!

  88. Shelly Neighbors's Gravatar Shelly Neighbors
    March 7, 2019 - 9:18 am | Permalink

    I definitely relate to Martha! In fact, have been called Martha. I have come to realize serving as a happy hostess is also very spiritual!! Martha needed to work on the Happy part! However, she was fully committed to her calling!

  89. Cath Fenton's Gravatar Cath Fenton
    March 7, 2019 - 9:19 am | Permalink

    I used to be a Martha, until I became disabled. It still annoys me that I can’t help with chores at home and at church. I’ve always found air difficult to be a Mary, though I know I should be.
    So, it’s Martha that I can understand most, and so she gets my vote.

  90. Sue Corrigan's Gravatar Sue Corrigan
    March 7, 2019 - 9:20 am | Permalink

    Well – just the thought of sitting at Jesus’ feet! Thank you Mary!

  91. Joe Wolfgang's Gravatar Joe Wolfgang
    March 7, 2019 - 9:21 am | Permalink

    Let’s go

  92. Fr. Bill's Gravatar Fr. Bill
    March 7, 2019 - 9:22 am | Permalink

    I voted for Martha because I figured Mary would win.

    • #grace37's Gravatar #grace37
      March 8, 2019 - 3:02 pm | Permalink

      But Martha won

  93. Elaine Culver's Gravatar Elaine Culver
    March 7, 2019 - 9:22 am | Permalink

    Martha gets my vote because, despite my best efforts, the kitchen remains my domain. My nickname for myself is “Demelza.”

  94. Debbie Brewin-Wilson's Gravatar Debbie Brewin-Wilson
    March 7, 2019 - 9:24 am | Permalink

    What evil genius came up with this pairing as our first Lent Madness challenge? Oh, the pain of sibling rivalry! Team Martha for the Golden Halo!

  95. Kathleen Bryson's Gravatar Kathleen Bryson
    March 7, 2019 - 9:25 am | Permalink

    Oooo, this is too much fun to be a Lenten “discipline.” My first year – sorry to have been so slow getting here. The comments add much to the narratives. The sisters and their relationship to Jesus helped rebuild my relationship to the church as the sixties revolution made the patriarchal church in which I was reared obsolete. My “church” in my twenties was solo backpacking trips into the mountains. Mary, Martha, and the rabbi who eliminated the cultural barriers of male-female interactions brought me back when, as a mother of an infant in a small Texas community, I was invited to a Baptist Bible Study as the curiously dressed stranger in town. I went as a “sociological observer” and was unexpectedly returned to the childhood joy of meeting Christ face-to-face. But definitely NOT as a Baptist, for their sake.

      March 7, 2019 - 12:47 pm | Permalink

      Enjoyed your story!

  96. Colleenrose's Gravatar Colleenrose
    March 7, 2019 - 9:27 am | Permalink

    I voted for Mary, because she reminded me of being the younger sister following her passion and Martha reminds me of the older sister trying to get her way. Martha’s ministry was the gift of hospitality. Mary’s was the gift of discipleship. Tough choice today.

  97. Margaret's Gravatar Margaret
    March 7, 2019 - 9:27 am | Permalink

    Mary got my vote, though i’m a bit more of a Martha. Lazarus wasn’t asked to go and help only Mary. She had the courage to choose not to simply follow the role that was expected of a woman. if she was around today she would be suggesting that Lazarus do his share of the housework so that all 3 would have time to sit at Jesus feet 🙂

  98. March 7, 2019 - 9:28 am | Permalink

    I have a lot of respect for Martha and do think she gets a bad rap, but I had to go with Mary. There is so much busy-ness in our lives that, in my context, attention to the contemplative is kicked aside as wholly unattainable. I think Lent is a time to sort that out and to refocus on resting in the presence of Jesus. Ultimately, I think I (and our culture) at this time, needs the challenge that Mary’s witness provides more than the affirmation that Martha’s provides. Both are essential to a whole faith, and may the each inspire to go deeper in our life and Christ and service to Christ in this world.

  99. JustMeJo's Gravatar JustMeJo
    March 7, 2019 - 9:28 am | Permalink

    What a start-up pairing this was! Truly a cruel choice to have to make on the very first go! I have been agonizing over it ever since the brackets came out… and have finally settled on Martha, who I feel was rather put-upon.

  100. Donna's Gravatar Donna
    March 7, 2019 - 9:30 am | Permalink

    Mary Mary. Mary opened the doors for us to be seminary students, deacons, priests, bishops, presiding bishops to say nothing of doctors, lawyers, engineers, whatever we want to be.

  101. Madame Senora's Gravatar Madame Senora
    March 7, 2019 - 9:30 am | Permalink

    International Women’s Day is tomorrow, so this is a great match-up to start Lent Madness.
    On the one hand, don’t most women just want to be able to sit for a few minutes and take in a good lesson? One can always do the dishes later.
    On the other hand, someone needs to prepare the meal and set the table or no one will get to eat.
    I appreciate the earlier comment about how if some of the men had lent a hand – dare I say Jesus, himself – then Martha wouldn’t have been put in the position of choosing between providing hospitality and enjoying the lesson. How would this story have played out if Jesus, himself, had lent a hand? Imagine all three of them washing, rinsing, and drying dishes all the while discussing theological themes.
    My vote goes to Martha.

    • Sue's Gravatar Sue
      March 7, 2019 - 8:31 pm | Permalink

      I like that thought. So true!

  102. Catherine's Gravatar Catherine
    March 7, 2019 - 9:31 am | Permalink

    “Lord, there is a stench” almost swayed me, but slaying a dragon won me over. Way to go, Martha!

  103. March 7, 2019 - 9:36 am | Permalink

    I’m a total Martha (and I voted for her) who would really really like to be a Mary but feel guilty when I’m not “doing.” I guess I voted for Martha because I understand her.
    Loved John Cabot’s poem and say good to see you to Oliver.

  104. Kim Forbes's Gravatar Kim Forbes
    March 7, 2019 - 9:37 am | Permalink

    I feel like a natural Mary, but am in reality an actual Martha. My vote goes to Martha.

  105. Don Welti's Gravatar Don Welti
    March 7, 2019 - 9:37 am | Permalink

    After viewing the vote count thus far, it seems to me that the modern view of those that participate in Lent Madness reflects the views of modern American pragmatists. “Hey you who meditate, contemplate, and pray, good for you. Now get up off your dead arse and do something! We approve of the former but the latter is what we value.

    • Pamela P.'s Gravatar Pamela P.
      March 7, 2019 - 5:58 pm | Permalink

      Good point, Don. I think our society needs to learn to value the contemplative as well as the “doing.” It shouldn’t have to be either/or.

  106. Barbara MacRobie's Gravatar Barbara MacRobie
    March 7, 2019 - 9:38 am | Permalink

    As as I once read somewhere, “and yet, presumably He ate the food.” Here’s to everyone who does unglamorous but necessary day-to-day tasks–Martha for the Golden Halo!

    • Ann's Gravatar Ann
      March 7, 2019 - 7:53 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for that quote. Martha voter here, who has always been annoyed that she got so little credit.

  107. Ann Cooper's Gravatar Ann Cooper
    March 7, 2019 - 9:38 am | Permalink

    How can you not vote for a practical, loyal follower who made sure people got fed and killed dragons. And her feast day is my son’s birthday. No contest here.

  108. Corey's Gravatar Corey
    March 7, 2019 - 9:39 am | Permalink

    I am a task oriented person (not to mention the home cook!) with contemplative aspirations that I struggle to make realities. I’m casting a hopeful vote for Mary. Martha has already got my back, but I need a little more help from her sister.

  109. Barbara Gay's Gravatar Barbara Gay
    March 7, 2019 - 9:40 am | Permalink

    Love the dragon angle! So torn – as a feminist and a lifelong learner and bookworm, I have liked Jesus’ teaching that it was OK for women as well as men to sit at his feet and listen to his teaching. But as an older sibling whose brother always skipped out on dishes and other chores, I identify most with Martha. Plus my great Aunt Martha was a gem, always watching out for her parents, her ten siblings and all their kids. And she was a short-order cook, too!

  110. Mariclaire's Gravatar Mariclaire
    March 7, 2019 - 9:43 am | Permalink

    I’ve been dreading this match-up since Lent Madness began. I identify with Martha, but she’s such a whiner. I imagine her slamming those clay pots or wooden bowls or whatever on the counter in a passive aggressive attempt to make Jesus and Mary feel sorry for her until she finally calls out to Jesus. BUT, Mary hanging out on the floor without helping us just a bit unacceptable, and, to tell the truth, I don’t thing Jesus was a very gracious guest.

  111. Judy's Gravatar Judy
    March 7, 2019 - 9:43 am | Permalink

    Yes, it’s Martha, exonerated by none other than John (11:20-27), whose firm belief in Jesus guided her actions; she got stuff done!

  112. Adelaide Kent's Gravatar Adelaide Kent
    March 7, 2019 - 9:44 am | Permalink

    Let’s not forget that Martha had to provide food for the disciples as well as for Jesus.
    Having had to cook for unexpected guests on an evening when I had a commitment at church, I can say that Martha has all my sympathy.

    • Elaine Chilcote's Gravatar Elaine Chilcote
      March 7, 2019 - 11:58 am | Permalink

      Several others have assumed that all 12 apostles were in that house in Bethany with Jesus, yet there is really no evidence for that. I doubt that Jesus had those guys with him all the time. It would have been stressful even for a man with a divine nature as well as a human one! I have always believed that these three siblings were Jesus’ special friends that he could visit and relax and not be in the spotlight, surrounded by clamoring crowds or even the chosen twelve. So I doubt Martha had to serve 13 guests, just one very important guest. I also believe that the interaction between Jesus and Martha was quite a bit more gentle than some seem to imagine. I don’t think Jesus “scolded” Martha.

  113. Casey Clams's Gravatar Casey Clams
    March 7, 2019 - 9:44 am | Permalink

    Xavier Middle School fifth graders are happy that Lent Madness has FINALLY begun! May the best Saint win!

    • #grace37's Gravatar #grace37
      March 8, 2019 - 3:04 pm | Permalink

      Hi, this is Elizabeth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  114. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    March 7, 2019 - 9:46 am | Permalink

    Too bad we can’t vote for Mary-Martha, as they’re pretty equal to us. We’re going with Martha today. Our church group of ladies who prepare funeral meals for families is called Martha’s Hands, so Martha it is.

  115. Elaine's Gravatar Elaine
    March 7, 2019 - 9:46 am | Permalink

    I’m definitely more of a Mary myself, but since I’ve directed an Altar Guild, and because “women’s work” is so often belittled, I’m going for Martha.

  116. Patrick Campion's Gravatar Patrick Campion
    March 7, 2019 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    Where is the email daily notification sign up?

  117. Mary W.'s Gravatar Mary W.
    March 7, 2019 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    I have a lot of sympathy for Martha, and sometimes I am that way. More often however, I am true to my name. Is it shirking responsibility or living in the moment? Mary it is!

  118. Polly's Gravatar Polly
    March 7, 2019 - 9:51 am | Permalink

    I voted for Mary- there are two elements to entertaining – up front & in the kitchen. If Martha had recognized and affirmed that her duties were less ‘fun’ but no loess important I might have voted for her.
    But then there wouldn’t have been this story for us to ponder.

  119. Lisa Keppeler's Gravatar Lisa Keppeler
    March 7, 2019 - 9:51 am | Permalink

    You have truly started off with the most difficult matchup! Worth remembering that Aramaic (and Hebrew) do not have comparative forms — so Jesus could not have exactly said that Mary had chosen the better part. More like, Mary has chosen the/a good thing, or Mary has chosen well. The Confucianist, Martha, holds that “to do is to be.” Mary is in the Lao Tzu camp: “To be is to do.” Like most folks in this earthly pilgrimage, I find myself in a daily dance/struggle between the two. So I’m off to another full day guided by the Sinatra Synthesis: “do be do be do.” I’ll make the hard choice between Mary and Martha toward the end of the day — knowing me, probably going for the underdog in the race.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 7, 2019 - 12:52 pm | Permalink

      You made me chuckle! Thanks!

    • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
      March 7, 2019 - 8:01 pm | Permalink

      Fascinating; how does one have a language without comparative forms? (Is there a superlative form?) or are these languages utterly nominalist: everything simply is in its own form? Reminds me of Jonathan Swift: the man who has to carry everything in a bag on his back, because each object is unique and can only be held to show others what one means (in other words, language is impossible)!

      • Lisa Keppeler's Gravatar Lisa Keppeler
        March 7, 2019 - 9:25 pm | Permalink

        Celia I love that Swift snippet! If I remember correctly the semitic languages do have superlatives, just not comparatives — but seminary was a long, long time ago. Maybe someone else will know for sure.
        Meanwhile, I indeed voted for Mary, who is still the underdog at 9:20 EST. I don’t care which one wins really, as long as they quit fighting over my every minute!

  120. Laura's Gravatar Laura
    March 7, 2019 - 9:52 am | Permalink

    After a morning of meditation on Martha and Mary, I became more than a little annoyed with Martha asking their honored guest to chide her sister. Not cool. Without that, it would have been Martha all the way (because I have a pretty devoted inner “doer”) but that morning of meditation has tipped my vote to Mary!

  121. Julie Butcher's Gravatar Julie Butcher
    March 7, 2019 - 9:53 am | Permalink

    There is always a need for the Martha’s in our world – where would we be without the ones who cook, and clean, and serve?

    However, as a contemplative, Mary get my vote!

  122. Mike's Gravatar Mike
    March 7, 2019 - 9:54 am | Permalink

    I am Martha.

  123. Linda Mackie Griggs's Gravatar Linda Mackie Griggs
    March 7, 2019 - 9:54 am | Permalink

    Martha is, and always has been, my spirit animal. Plus, dragons, duh.

  124. March 7, 2019 - 9:54 am | Permalink

    This is akin to having both number one seeds play each other in NCAA BB finals… and the cruel irony for those faith communities that name both Mary and Margaret. What a wake up call.

  125. Tammie Taylor's Gravatar Tammie Taylor
    March 7, 2019 - 9:55 am | Permalink

    Vote for Martha!!! Neither blogger pointed out the portion of scripture that reveals Martha’s growth after she whines about Mary. Jesus returns to her house when Lazarus dies and Martha expressly declares her belief that He is the Messiah! I LOVE Mary’s contemplative heart and act of devotion. I always LOVE Martha’s no-nonsense verbal statement of faith!

  126. March 7, 2019 - 9:55 am | Permalink

    As an avid cook & former server, I gotta go with Martha. Also, I’m a big fan of common sense. And she slayed a dragon?? C’mon, that’s an easy one!

  127. Emily's Gravatar Emily
    March 7, 2019 - 9:57 am | Permalink

    Always the dance between divinity and humanity. Spiritual and physical hunger. I am reminded of a past sermon: “Usually I agree with Jesus…but I gotta say, who did he think was in the kitchen making sandwiches?” Sarah you know who you are. I am so with Sarah, and I want to vote for Martha with every fiber, but Jesus calls me to vote for Mary. He was there so briefly he so much he needed to teach.

  128. Glenn Brown's Gravatar Glenn Brown
    March 7, 2019 - 9:58 am | Permalink

    She killed a dragon! I mean how could you not vote for her!#teammartha

  129. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    March 7, 2019 - 10:01 am | Permalink

    I perceive an inclination among the electorate to favor action over contemplation, which is what our culture teaches us. So I’m going to vote for Mary, partly to push back against the culture but mostly because Jesus did. Happy Madness to all.

    • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
      March 7, 2019 - 10:09 am | Permalink

      Same, Davis. Happy to see you back. Hope you have a gentle palfrey for this year’s ride to Canterbury.

      • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
        March 7, 2019 - 10:27 am | Permalink

        And you as well, St. C. Thank you for reminding me of “palfrey,” which I had to look up in my Webster’s New World Dictionary. The history of the word, including the other words it’s related to (such as “ride”), is especially interesting.

        March 7, 2019 - 1:04 pm | Permalink

        Hello St. c and Davis! I voted against my usual inclination to vote for contemplatives. I’ve been feeling very put-upon as an eldest sister…

  130. Laura Campbell's Gravatar Laura Campbell
    March 7, 2019 - 10:01 am | Permalink

    As one who finds herself so often in the church kitchen, I had to vote for Martha. So many times I’d love to be in the parish hall figuratively at the feet of Jesus. but, hey, someone’s got to feed the Marys of the world, and clean up after.

  131. Marti Fagley's Gravatar Marti Fagley
    March 7, 2019 - 10:04 am | Permalink

    John 11:5 – my favorite verse since my name is Martha. “Now, Jesus loved Martha….” Can’t get any better. Martha’s stick together!!

    • Martha's Gravatar Martha
      March 7, 2019 - 11:13 am | Permalink

      Same here, though I’ve usually been unkind and pointed out it’s John 11:5a to note the others are listed, but Martha is first. 🙂 This probably due to the negative attention Martha received over the years. Something to work on this Lent.

  132. Carla's Gravatar Carla
    March 7, 2019 - 10:05 am | Permalink

    Because I am a Martha who needs a little more Mary in me, I voted for Mary.

  133. Sally in Dallas's Gravatar Sally in Dallas
    March 7, 2019 - 10:05 am | Permalink

    I’ve always known I was a “Martha”, and have had a special place in my heart for her. Yet I’m becoming an amalgamation of both women as I’ve grown older. And perhaps that is what meant to convey to us, centuries later. There is no perfect way to be, busy or contemplative. Jesus loves all personalities. There are times in my life when the “Martha” in me emerges , and times when my “Mary” comes to the fore. And all is perfectly “me”. I voted for Mary today because it is at Jesus’ feet that I hope to be this Lent 2019.

  134. Jim Bimbi's Gravatar Jim Bimbi
    March 7, 2019 - 10:05 am | Permalink

    I suspect that Mary will be the fan favorite (siding with Jesus would appear the wiser choice), but after almost 3 decades in parish ministry the Saints for me are the Marthas who stay to pickup after the Marys have long gone home. Out of the spotlight and the adoring sighs directed towards the Marys, the Marthas are the ones who show up early to make he necessary preparations for worship, fellowship, and the smooth running of ministries. And they’ll make sure that the garbage is taken out!

    Blessed Martha. I stand with thee.

  135. Charles Stuart's Gravatar Charles Stuart
    March 7, 2019 - 10:05 am | Permalink

    I’m impressed that Mary knows what spikenard is and can wield it appropriately, not to mention spell it correctly, but as an ardent amateur cook I am compelled to support one of my patron saints. And I’m hungry.

  136. Sharon's Gravatar Sharon
    March 7, 2019 - 10:06 am | Permalink

    Why do we presume that Martha wasn’t listening while she attended to chores? When she met Jesus as He arrived at Lazarus’ tomb, she proclaimed Him “Messiah.” She had acknowledged His teachings and His actions. And all of this was prior to His restoring Lazarus to life. If there was ever a time for doubt in Jesus, this might have been it. But she clung to His teachings and His words.

    How many of us listen to music, discussions on NPR or other things while we do our chores? Yet we chastise Martha for doing just that. Many claim they are multi-taskers, yet can’t believe that Martha could be one also? We need a little of both to be fully committed to following Jesus. After all, He told us to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, visit the sick, etc. I don’t take His comment about “the better part” as a condemnation of Martha, just asking her to calm down — “all will be well.”

  137. St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
    March 7, 2019 - 10:06 am | Permalink

    I see all the deacons have voted ahead of me, and that’s why Martha is winning. I went with Mary, although I deplore the split between common sense and spirituality. I don’t think it’s an either-or; I think it can be a both-and. Yes, dragon slayers should be honored. But I cannot get the image of wiping Jesus’ feet with one’s perfume-slathered hair out of my mind. So many Marys at the tomb. My vote is for the “grieving Mary.” Why the via media should still be so lined with sorrow, I don’t know. But here we are, going forward to Canterbury.

  138. Carol Haefele's Gravatar Carol Haefele
    March 7, 2019 - 10:07 am | Permalink

    I cried the first time I realized I was one more Martha than Mary. I didn’t want to be the practical. But to each of us, a gift is given. I grow every day into excepting my Martha side and strive to balance that with my developing Mary side. I had to support Martha.

  139. Deborah Sampson's Gravatar Deborah Sampson
    March 7, 2019 - 10:07 am | Permalink

    I have great respect for the Martha’s and their gift of hospitality. My challenge with Martha is that she “tattles” on her sister, disrespecting Mary’s gift.

    • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
      March 7, 2019 - 10:10 am | Permalink

      I think she’s taking her wounded heart to Jesus, and her troubles, as we are told to do, and he responds. I’m assuming the rest of the story is that one of the men gets up to help her.

  140. Joyce A Rush's Gravatar Joyce A Rush
    March 7, 2019 - 10:10 am | Permalink

    Martha gets my vote.

  141. Robin Marciniak's Gravatar Robin Marciniak
    March 7, 2019 - 10:10 am | Permalink

    Went with Martha – if she hadn’t been there, would Mary have been able to sit at Jesus’ feet? Of course one of the men could have pitched in …
    Love the song, too – but don’t know the tune. Will have to put it on while reading the lyrics. Thanks!

  142. RuthAnn's Gravatar RuthAnn
    March 7, 2019 - 10:13 am | Permalink

    The side note things we learn from Lent Madness:
    In case anyone else was confused like me, the write-ups say the three siblings died in Cyprus, but then later says Martha died in France.
    From Wikipedia: “Died: traditionally Larnaca, Cyprus or Tarascon, Gaul (modern-day France)”. Here I thought Cyprus was part of Greece.

  143. Kirk M Knoferle's Gravatar Kirk M Knoferle
    March 7, 2019 - 10:15 am | Permalink

    My first time. Its a great way to learn about the saints. They are more then stained glass.

  144. JOAN OGDEN's Gravatar JOAN OGDEN
    March 7, 2019 - 10:16 am | Permalink

    Martha — feeding the hungry and caring for others — what Jesus called us to do. Her busyness and practicality does not diminish her faith — she just lives it out.

  145. Patricia Stewart's Gravatar Patricia Stewart
    March 7, 2019 - 10:17 am | Permalink

    I find it comical that you started Lenten Madness by stirring up a little sibling rivalry. . I voted for Martha. I identified with the organized care-giver int he family.

  146. Michael's Gravatar Michael
    March 7, 2019 - 10:19 am | Permalink

    Wow! In just a couple of hours there are 200 comments and mearly 4000 votes.

  147. March 7, 2019 - 10:20 am | Permalink

    What a way to kick off Lent Madness!

  148. Helen of Middletown's Gravatar Helen of Middletown
    March 7, 2019 - 10:20 am | Permalink

    We have patiently been awaiting the kick-off of Lent Madness. Let the fun and madness begin! Go, Martha of Bethany!

  149. Eliana Barbosa's Gravatar Eliana Barbosa
    March 7, 2019 - 10:21 am | Permalink

    Mary: Jesus said open up the tomb!!!!!
    Do your part!!!!!!

  150. Medora kennedy's Gravatar Medora kennedy
    March 7, 2019 - 10:25 am | Permalink

    I love both but the scale tipped to Mary.

  151. Bob's Gravatar Bob
    March 7, 2019 - 10:28 am | Permalink

    I voted for Mary; I’m married to a Mary. My wife acts more like a Martha and I chide her because of that and explain to her my preference for Mary because personally I have to sit and listen to Jesus undisturbed and not distracted.

  152. March 7, 2019 - 10:28 am | Permalink

    I like Mary of Bethany because as Christ said, she has chosen the better part. That being the prayer and contemplation. No One can take your heart and mind from you, where ” they ” are there will be your treasure, peace on the planet

  153. Elliot Ashley and Herself's Gravatar Elliot Ashley and Herself
    March 7, 2019 - 10:30 am | Permalink

    Good morning, Supreme Executive Committee.
    Please note that Nancy and I both use the same email address. Therefore you will receive duplicate votes votes from us, sometimes the same and sometimes cancelling each other out. We are not ballot box stuffing even though we may sometimes wish to do so.

  154. ???????'s Gravatar ???????
    March 7, 2019 - 10:30 am | Permalink

    all right, let’s get this Halo to someone.

  155. Jennifer Sabroe's Gravatar Jennifer Sabroe
    March 7, 2019 - 10:30 am | Permalink

    Im pretty much a Martha myself … so I voted Martha. I’m so happy Lent Madness is here again!

  156. Alice's Gravatar Alice
    March 7, 2019 - 10:30 am | Permalink

    Well written and a difficult choice

  157. Tobu's Gravatar Tobu
    March 7, 2019 - 10:31 am | Permalink

    I’ve always been partial to dreamy Mary with her proto-feminist cred, daring to sit and learn at the feet of the Teacher alongside the men. But today, I have to vote for her historically underappreciated sister, in honor of my delightful mother-in-law, another hard-working Martha who raised six wonderful children, including the father of my own. Let’s all be grateful for the lessons both sisters teach us!

  158. Michelle M W's Gravatar Michelle M W
    March 7, 2019 - 10:32 am | Permalink

    The left-brained side of me slightly edges the right-brained side just as the Martha in me edges the Mary. Being a Martha is easy so I struggle to be more like Mary. I have always been practical, detail oriented and independent. Alas, I need Mary’s contemplative nature. I still had to vote for Martha. I hope all of the saintly choices aren’t this difficult.

  159. Judy Bye's Gravatar Judy Bye
    March 7, 2019 - 10:33 am | Permalink

    So, Jesus was for the education of women and obviously the ordination of women. Other than that I’ve never really liked this particular scripture. I wonder at Martha’s face. Was it fury or hurtful resignation. Did she stomp out or what? Did she pull herself together and lovingly put together a wonderful meal? Did Martha ever appreciate that Mary dared to walk in there and sit at Jesus’ feet? Did Mary share the teaching of Jesus with Martha later or did the rising of Lazarus make all that insignificant. I wish a woman had written this or better yet, Martha. Everyone must have taken notice or we wouldn’t know. Wish I could have seen Mary walk in there AND sit down…AT Jesus feet! Kudos to Martha for doing her part. Because—on his own, Jesus didn’t ask either one of them to join him. I guess he could have winked or given a little nod to her. No one wrote that. Obviously both sisters got over it and they’re both saints. I like Martha better.

  160. Peggy's Gravatar Peggy
    March 7, 2019 - 10:38 am | Permalink

    Martha, being the patron saint of servants, gets my vote.

  161. Karen H.'s Gravatar Karen H.
    March 7, 2019 - 10:38 am | Permalink

    I was certain that my vote for Martha was going to make me an outlier; after all, Mary was the “holier” one. I see, though, that I am not alone as a Martha who needs to be open to more of her “Maryness”.

  162. KHatch's Gravatar KHatch
    March 7, 2019 - 10:38 am | Permalink

    Gee, I thought I was voting for the loser! That is my strategy this year and it is working!

  163. Cai Armstrong's Gravatar Cai Armstrong
    March 7, 2019 - 10:41 am | Permalink

    I voted for Martha because in John 11:20-27 she expresses one of the most beautiful journeys from doubt to faith in the Bible. I read recently that Jesus rebuked her for her resentment, not her active life. The world needs both active and contemplative people of faith.

  164. March 7, 2019 - 10:42 am | Permalink

    Taming a dragon did it for me!

  165. Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
    March 7, 2019 - 10:44 am | Permalink

    Wait Martha of Bethany died in Cyprus and in France?

    I get how Lazarus could die in Bethany and again in Cyprus, we know that story. Did something similar happen to Martha? With a few notable Biblical exceptions people tend to only die a physical death once.

    I have a horrid & miserable head cold and am staying home from work today. So since Mary also skipped working to seek healing* I vote for her.

    *Not saying she was physically sick, but all of us need some sort of healing in our lives:  physical, mental, psychological, &/or spiritual, and Jesus is the master healer.

      March 7, 2019 - 1:13 pm | Permalink

      Feel better, Miss Jan!

  166. Megan's Gravatar Megan
    March 7, 2019 - 10:45 am | Permalink

    In the church growing up (non-Episcopalian), I feel like this is what ‘the women’ did – we cooked. Someone died? Make the funeral lunch. Someone is sick? Bring a casserole. Carry-in dinner? The church ladies will bring the food. I’m not saying it is that different in the Episcopal church, but I like the fact that Mary took time out to listen, to learn, to be present, despite her ‘place’ as a hostess of the household. Sometimes doing the unexpected is right, and Jesus shows this time and again by telling us to love those that hate you, that are different than you, those that despise you. Mary reminds us to take time out to truly listen to the divine, and in this world of busyness and action, that speaks to me.

  167. Jan Smith's Gravatar Jan Smith
    March 7, 2019 - 10:50 am | Permalink

    Today would have been my mother’s 85th birthday. I am missing her greatly, as Joy Sargent died six months ago and is in the communion of saints now. To me, she embodied both Mary and Martha all rolled into one person, a busy doer who got things done while delighting in choosing her own roles and ways of growing her faith. She was not computer savvy, so we shared a vote in Lent Madness every year, enjoying reading the bios together each day, then agreeing on who to vote for. She always favored women over men, hoping to pass on recognition neglected by history. Whoever wins this vote, it is cast with Joy.

    • March 7, 2019 - 10:57 am | Permalink

      What a beautiful comment. Condolences to you in your sorrow-and-joy mingled together as you remember your mother.

    • Patricia's Gravatar Patricia
      March 7, 2019 - 11:22 am | Permalink

      So sorry for the loss of your mother, Jan. It sounds as if her name was perfect for nature. Now Joy is experiencing the joy of heaven and the Beatific Vision. Thank you for sharing your story of Joy. Thinking of you both especially today.

    • Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
      March 7, 2019 - 11:48 am | Permalink

      Every sympathy in your loss. May Joy rest in peace and rise in glory.

    • Grace Kennedy's Gravatar Grace Kennedy
      March 7, 2019 - 12:44 pm | Permalink

      My daughter is named Joy. This is the first year we’ll be doing Lent Madness together. As we do I’ll remember you and your mother.

    • Stephen Smith's Gravatar Stephen Smith
      March 7, 2019 - 1:13 pm | Permalink

      That’s wonderful Jan

  168. Mike Konieczny's Gravatar Mike Konieczny
    March 7, 2019 - 10:50 am | Permalink

    My Aunt Dorothy was compared to Martha at her funeral. That’s good enough for me.

  169. Marlena's Gravatar Marlena
    March 7, 2019 - 10:51 am | Permalink

    If Mary had been the more saintly, she would have helped Martha so they could BOTH sit at the feet of Jesus.

    • Kaye Bellot's Gravatar Kaye Bellot
      March 7, 2019 - 11:00 am | Permalink


  170. Suzanne Mounger's Gravatar Suzanne Mounger
    March 7, 2019 - 10:51 am | Permalink

    Faught a dragon? Whoa! Go Martha.

  171. March 7, 2019 - 10:55 am | Permalink

    Sometimes I think that the author of Luke and Acts may indeed have BEEN a woman, given how much attention to the hearts and minds of women you find in those two New Testament books.

    I admire and love the Marthas. The church (and most other organizations) could not manage without them. I am so grateful for the many Marthas at our church. Nonetheless I voted for Mary because it’s OK for women to diverge from the standard set of “female” expectations, and be scholars, teachers, writers, deep thinkers, or devoted to the life of prayer. There are diversities of gifts but the same Spirit; those diversities of gifts are not bound by gender or cultural expectations.

    The Mary-types, however, had better listen not just to Jesus but also to the Marthas, when they say, Hey I need help, or PUT YOUR DISHES IN THE SINK PLEASE, and DON’T LEAVE YOUR DIRTY BOOTS IN THE FRONT HALL.

  172. Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
    March 7, 2019 - 10:56 am | Permalink

    As a female eldest child, I vote for Martha! I’m becoming more Marylike the older I get, but my heart will always be with the under-appreciated Martha, whose motto must have been, “Somebody’s gotta do it!”

    • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
      March 7, 2019 - 11:07 am | Permalink

      Welcome back, Susan! I recognized your avi.

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      March 7, 2019 - 12:40 pm | Permalink

      Nice to hear from you, Susan, and I like your motto for Martha.

  173. Martha's Gravatar Martha
    March 7, 2019 - 10:59 am | Permalink

    As a Martha, I like to set the record straight. 🙂
    According to the Greek used in Like’s gospel, Martha was a deacon. Martha also is the one to give the profession of Jesus being the Messiah in John’s gospel (11:27).
    Martha was far more faithful than she is typically given credit. She was not just triangulating Jesus in her sibling rivalry.

    • March 7, 2019 - 3:26 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for this insight!

      • James Lodwick's Gravatar James Lodwick
        March 7, 2019 - 4:43 pm | Permalink

        Luke indeed uses the Greek words diakonia and diakonein to describe the work Martha does in this story about Jesus , but I think it would be an error to leap to the conclusion that Martha was a Deacon, an officer of the Church. The Greek words in question were the ordinary words to describe serving and service or waiting on table, and after all Luke’s story is about a pre-resurrection event in the life of Jesus, before the Church had come into being.

        That Martha may have later become a deacon of the Church is not impossible, since we know from Paul (Romans 16) that there were women Deacons in the Church from earliest times. Could Luke’s double use of the Greek words associated with later diaconal ministry in the Church be a subtle allusion to the later status attained by Martha during the time of the Church? Perhaps. But during the time of Jesus Martha could not have been a Deacon, since there was no Church for her to be one in.

        • Martha's Gravatar Martha
          March 7, 2019 - 8:27 pm | Permalink

          James, you are correct Luke’s text is set pre-church. Even with the high probability that Martha was a deacon of the church once it was established (since she was remembered in two different gospel accounts), does not mean we should diminish Martha’s service prior to its beginning. She is serving, not just at table, but she is serving Jesus. The Luke passage has been used to vilify the biblical Martha and I don’t think that is helpful. Both sisters were followers of Jesus and both show vital roles of discipleship. In pointing out that Luke uses the Greek word for deacon, I think it helps to show Martha was also a faithful follower, not just an angry woman who doesn’t get what she wants.

  174. Sandra Bullock's Gravatar Sandra Bullock
    March 7, 2019 - 10:59 am | Permalink

    She tamed a dragon. Love Martha.

  175. Monica MacKenzie's Gravatar Monica MacKenzie
    March 7, 2019 - 11:06 am | Permalink

    I’m always frustrated when Jesus scolds Martha. I wanna blurt out “well Jesus, who do you think made that food you’re eating…Huh?” I’ve been a Martha my whole life. It’s only in later life, I’ve come to realize, I can be both.

  176. St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
    March 7, 2019 - 11:09 am | Permalink

    I have a question for the admins. Do our text boxes no longer auto-populate? I am having to type my name and email address in manually each time, and they always auto-populated before, once you had made your initial post. Has the software changed? or am I doing something wrong (entirely possible)?

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 7, 2019 - 7:07 pm | Permalink

      I wondered the same thing, St. C! It kind of discourages one from interacting too much….

      • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
        March 7, 2019 - 8:04 pm | Permalink

        Exactly! (now typing all my info in again just for you!) 🙂

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      March 7, 2019 - 9:34 pm | Permalink

      I’ll ask my local Supreme about it at Morning Prayer tomorrow.

  177. Melanie Sokhey's Gravatar Melanie Sokhey
    March 7, 2019 - 11:13 am | Permalink

    I’m so happy to see that Martha is ahead in today’s voting! I’ve long thought that she got a bum rap: SOMEONE must step up to take care of the practical side of life! Martha’s confession of faith in John 11 is one of the most profound and moving in Scripture.

  178. Beth's Gravatar Beth
    March 7, 2019 - 11:13 am | Permalink

    As someone probably known as a Martha, I’m working to become more like Mary

  179. Ruth Douglas Miller's Gravatar Ruth Douglas Miller
    March 7, 2019 - 11:16 am | Permalink

    Most of the girls in my youth group in high school used to often claim to be ‘Marthas’, complaining that they wished they were Marys. I always kept silent, feeling that, as a Mary, I was in fact looked down upon for failing to carry my part of the prep/serving/clean-up, because I didn’t want to miss the teaching. I’m not surprised amarthas winning, but my vote is always for Mary.

    • March 8, 2019 - 5:43 pm | Permalink

      My thoughts exactly! Even Jesus says Mary has chosen the better part, and yet she loses this round. Not a good start for Lent!

      Never knew before that her sitting at his feet was regarded as a special position for those close to the rabbi. Enjoyed this tidbit, even though the doers trumped Jesus.

      • March 8, 2019 - 5:45 pm | Permalink

        And does Mary have a feast day? Otherwise Martha won that round, too; the church depends too much on women playing the part of “doers.”

  180. Ellen Bunnell's Gravatar Ellen Bunnell
    March 7, 2019 - 11:16 am | Permalink

    I just had to vote for Martha! She gets a bad rap but have you thought of this? Ever try to live with 12 hungry men? It was all fun and games until dinner time care around. THEN…they appreciated Martha’s kitchen work! She didn’t love Jesus less. She wished she could be sitting down too (..don’t all of us stuck in the kitchen during a party). She was a servant believer. I vote….MARTHA OF BETHANY!

  181. Dawn's Gravatar Dawn
    March 7, 2019 - 11:17 am | Permalink

    I’ve never heard of this before. I’ll play along. I voted for Mary because I think Martha’s story is a little inflated. I think her ego was too.

  182. Marjorie Menaul's Gravatar Marjorie Menaul
    March 7, 2019 - 11:19 am | Permalink

    As a rector, I was frustrated time after time by the Marthas who HAD to clean up right after the meal when the bishop or another guest had come to sit and talk with us. Yes, there needs to be puttering in the kitchen at some point, but it’s in service of the important conversation that’s goin on in another room. Insisting that the work matters more than the main event is insulting to the speaker and makes sure that those in the kitchen don’t have to learn anything new and uncomfortable. I get it – I feel more important when people are depending on me than when I’m sitting and learning. But really! I prefer to be Martha, but I’m voting for Mary because she DID get it right.

  183. Joyce Martin's Gravatar Joyce Martin
    March 7, 2019 - 11:20 am | Permalink

    “Being a Martha in a Mary World” (and, Yes, it is also the name of a very good book) I had to vote for Martha!
    Good start to Lent Madness!

    • Joyce Martin's Gravatar Joyce Martin
      March 7, 2019 - 11:28 am | Permalink

      Sorry folks, I meant to write “Being a Mary in a Martha World!”
      I was busy in the kitchen while trying to write the first comment …..

    • Joyce Martin's Gravatar Joyce Martin
      March 7, 2019 - 11:31 am | Permalink

      strike that… it’s Mary in a Martha World.

  184. Elizabeth Hunziker's Gravatar Elizabeth Hunziker
    March 7, 2019 - 11:21 am | Permalink

    Working with Fr. Keating on Hospitality now through Easter! Martha had the ultimate hospitality – herself for Christ.

  185. Susan Kirwan's Gravatar Susan Kirwan
    March 7, 2019 - 11:25 am | Permalink

    I’m a Martha hands down! I’ve even read the insightful book “Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World” by Joanna Weaver. While I aspire to be more Mary-like each day – I was pleasantly surprised and moved to hear how Martha navigated through her life after Jesus’ resurrection. That’s what did for me – Martha got my vote!

  186. Diane Wyman's Gravatar Diane Wyman
    March 7, 2019 - 11:26 am | Permalink

    I am furious that these sisters have been pitted against each other because it reinforces what I think are misunderstandings about them and this story that Jesus tells. As I read the comments, they seem to bear this out. Seems like a Myers Briggs shootout.
    Are there not enough days in lent to individually present them with their virtues? In Jesus day, women did not commonly sit in on teachings. So that is part of the Hidden narrative.
    Ironically, I am about to go to an altar Guild retreat day as a visitor. I am quite excited about experiencing the program, which includes spiritual and practical aspects, as does life as a Christian. Whew. Now I feel better.
    I did like the essays about each woman. I am not voting today.

    • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
      March 7, 2019 - 11:45 am | Permalink

      “a Myers Briggs shootout”: “like”

  187. Martha Harris's Gravatar Martha Harris
    March 7, 2019 - 11:26 am | Permalink

    Martha all the way! Not only am I a Martha in name, but also in spirit (sometimes I wish for a bit more Mary in me, without working at it…). Also, the commentators neglected to mention Martha’s great proclamation in John 11:27: “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God”, one of the first to truly recognize Jesus as the Messiah

  188. Marlene C Hogue's Gravatar Marlene C Hogue
    March 7, 2019 - 11:27 am | Permalink

    I voted Maru, because “I have a Mary mind.
    “Kitchen Prayer” by Klara Munkres
    Lord of all pots and pans and things
    Since I’ve not time to be
    A saint by doing lovely things or
    Watching late with Thee
    Or dreaming in the dawn light or
    Storming Heaven’s gates
    Make me a saint by getting meals and
    Washing up the plates.

    Although I must have Martha’s hands,
    I have a Mary mind
    And when I black the boots and shoes,
    Thy sandals Lord I find.
    I think of how they trod the earth,
    What time I scrub the floor
    Accept this meditation Lord,
    I haven’t time for more.

    Warm all the kitchen with Thy love,
    And light it with Thy peace
    Forgive me all my worrying and make
    My grumbling cease.
    Thou who didst love to give men food,
    In room or by the sea
    Accept this service that I do,
    I do it unto Thee.

    • Marlene C Hogue's Gravatar Marlene C Hogue
      March 7, 2019 - 11:28 am | Permalink

      I mean Mary!! Phat fingers.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 7, 2019 - 7:10 pm | Permalink

      Love it!

  189. Doris Udry's Gravatar Doris Udry
    March 7, 2019 - 11:28 am | Permalink

    Voted for Martha. That’s me for the next 2 days. I’ll have 3 house guests and as much as I’d relish “being remarkable for her (Mary) blandness”, I’ll be unremarkable for cleaning and getting food on the table. Makes me laugh to picture my guests telling everyone how remarkable I was (not) if I didn’t offer them food, etc.

  190. Corryzone's Gravatar Corryzone
    March 7, 2019 - 11:29 am | Permalink

    I feel I must vote according to my introverted, contemplation-loving self and vote for Mary. Who am I to dilute Jesus’ assessment of “the better part”?

    • Corryzone's Gravatar Corryzone
      March 7, 2019 - 11:30 am | Permalink

      Dispute, not dilute…

  191. Jim M.'s Gravatar Jim M.
    March 7, 2019 - 11:31 am | Permalink

    I have a couple questions that I hope someone can answer.

    The write-up on Martha of Bethany includes both “[Martha joined] him as a missionary abroad until he became a bishop in Cyprus, where all three siblings eventually died.” and “Afterward Martha lived a life of daily devotion in France until she died.” Which is correct? Where did Martha die?

    Lazarus left Bethany after his resurrection and went to Cyprus because “the chief priests decided to kill Lazarus as well (as Jesus), since it was on his account that many of the Jews were leaving them and believing in Jesus.” [John 12:10-11]. I believe Martha and Mary went with him. Is this correct?


    (As you might guess, I voted for Martha. I get caught up in the practical details of things.)

  192. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    March 7, 2019 - 11:36 am | Permalink

    What a tough way to begin, dividing the sisters the Bible and church has kept together all these years. The SEC at their fiendish best. After agonising over two remarkable women, I finally opted for Mary for her willingness to challenge societal norms.

  193. Liz Kinsey's Gravatar Liz Kinsey
    March 7, 2019 - 11:38 am | Permalink

    Just be. Mary chose the better part. I voted for Mary.

  194. Sylvia's Gravatar Sylvia
    March 7, 2019 - 11:51 am | Permalink

    First year participant

  195. Mama J's Gravatar Mama J
    March 7, 2019 - 11:53 am | Permalink

    aaaarrrrgh! You’re doing this on purpose! My brain hurts already. What a good woman was/is Martha! I’m voting for Mary. So THERE! I made the decision to sit at the Lord’s feet and putter in the interims.

  196. Christine's Gravatar Christine
    March 7, 2019 - 11:54 am | Permalink

    I love them both but my sister is the Mary and I’m the Martha.

  197. Meredith Hales's Gravatar Meredith Hales
    March 7, 2019 - 11:57 am | Permalink

    I am a Mary at heart. Forced to do Martha things, but always a Mary ! Happy Lent Madness everyone!

  198. Cameratta's Gravatar Cameratta
    March 7, 2019 - 12:01 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Martha. Ever since I was young, I have always related to her and understood her feelings of unfairness pertaining to workload. Who knew that the 80/20 rule comes straight from the Bible?!

  199. Terri's Gravatar Terri
    March 7, 2019 - 12:03 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Mary because dishes can wait. I love to be a hostess, but sometimes you just need to sit and listen.

  200. Terri Merritt's Gravatar Terri Merritt
    March 7, 2019 - 12:05 pm | Permalink

    You visit my house, I make sure you eat.

  201. Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
    March 7, 2019 - 12:07 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Martha because God forgives even us worrywarts.

  202. Carolyn Gordon's Gravatar Carolyn Gordon
    March 7, 2019 - 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Come on, Mary!!!

  203. Kimberly Creech's Gravatar Kimberly Creech
    March 7, 2019 - 12:10 pm | Permalink

    A tough choice because both types are needed in our world to impact the kingdom. I went with Mary because she encourages me to give my heart first to have the strength and will to do.

  204. March 7, 2019 - 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Hard choice, but I voted for the one whose name I have. As Jesus said, she chose the better part. (Actually, that fact opens some gender-related theological issues.) And maybe, because of what Martha said, she washed the dishes after the guests left.

  205. Mary Pietrzykowski's Gravatar Mary Pietrzykowski
    March 7, 2019 - 12:13 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Martha. If Mary had helped her, they both could have sat down and listened to Jesus.

  206. Laura Thewalt's Gravatar Laura Thewalt
    March 7, 2019 - 12:14 pm | Permalink

    While often leaning into being “a Martha”, I voted for Mary.
    As an EfM mentor and a woman… I’m drawn into the aspect of Mary where she was active in wanting to learn and sitting in a place women did not sit in that time and place.

  207. Terri Ellison's Gravatar Terri Ellison
    March 7, 2019 - 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Nothing like a little sibling rivalry to start things off!

    Go Mary!

  208. Rachel's Gravatar Rachel
    March 7, 2019 - 12:17 pm | Permalink

    I love Martha -she did a thankless job, but still did it. Women everywhere know what it is like to hear that their work isn’t important, and I think she gets a bad wrap as a worry wort when really she was doing as the book of James said we must -showing her faith through service. And let’s not let us overlook that after Lazarus died she went out to Jesus while Mary stayed home, and that Martha boldly proclaimed him to be the Messiah. Also, she totally killed a dragon in France. 😉

  209. Katrina Soto's Gravatar Katrina Soto
    March 7, 2019 - 12:18 pm | Permalink

    As an Altar Guild directress, I really had no choice. Team Martha. But I do encourage the inner Mary in all trainees.

  210. Victoria's Gravatar Victoria
    March 7, 2019 - 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Martha! When we studied the sisters in Bible Study, I ran across this poem by Kipling that perfectly explains why I voted for her:

    • Joy Cass's Gravatar Joy Cass
      March 7, 2019 - 12:56 pm | Permalink

      Wow! I just read it- so true! Thank you.

  211. Sally D's Gravatar Sally D
    March 7, 2019 - 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Amen to Martha who says her prayers while washing dishes! Go Martha!

  212. Patty P's Gravatar Patty P
    March 7, 2019 - 12:25 pm | Permalink

    They both are needed. They are both gifted and talented in different ways. Both have accepted Christ’s invitation in different ways.

  213. Ann Landers's Gravatar Ann Landers
    March 7, 2019 - 12:26 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Mary because she grasped the importance of being with Jesus rather than acting as a servant. First Feminist? Also she splurged on the best and most expensive oil to anoint Jesus. Very selfless!

  214. Catherine Wieczorek's Gravatar Catherine Wieczorek
    March 7, 2019 - 12:27 pm | Permalink

    If I ever took vows, I would change my name to Sister Martha

  215. Mary Lou's Gravatar Mary Lou
    March 7, 2019 - 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Really??? REALLY??? You had pit two sisters against each other in the first round?? LOL! I had to vote for Mary because I’ve always admired her priorities. Besides, I’m a Mary. Oh well, no matter who wins, they are both deserving and I love this dynamic duo.

  216. Kim Drogan Prentice's Gravatar Kim Drogan Prentice
    March 7, 2019 - 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Martha because her story speaks to my own struggle between wanting to be of service to God and taking time to listen to God.

  217. Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
    March 7, 2019 - 12:32 pm | Permalink

    I love that dragon that Martha is supposed to have “tamed.” Hagiographies are so imaginative! Did she name him Puff? What do you do with a tame dragon like that? Take him to parties?

  218. Linda S's Gravatar Linda S
    March 7, 2019 - 12:36 pm | Permalink

    So pleased – and surprised by Martha’s lead over Mary! In my voting choice, I focused on not the either/or of the ladies, but their yin and yang qualities. Weren’t they two halves of a whole?
    Also, I sensed that in Jesus’s support of Mary wasn’t a summary criticism of Martha. I hear it as an encouragement to not interfere in another’s faith journey by judging and attempting to mold another person’s beliefs so it fits my own sensibilities.
    Grateful for fresh insights!

  219. Margaret P Hasselman's Gravatar Margaret P Hasselman
    March 7, 2019 - 12:38 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always thought Martha was treated unfairly. Someone has to fix the food! I remember the hurt of being treated as helper in the kitchen while it seemed as if everyone else was having fun and taking me for granted. Would Jesus really have wanted himself and all his company to go without food? I picture Martha listening from the wings – not ignoring what was being said, but wishing she could participate like her sister.

  220. SPCHeadVerger's Gravatar SPCHeadVerger
    March 7, 2019 - 12:40 pm | Permalink

    As a thurifer (knowing full well that Spikenard is the BEST-smelling incense we unfortunately only use at funerals and Good Friday…) I had to go for Mary.

  221. Rita's Gravatar Rita
    March 7, 2019 - 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Our culture appreciates action more than learning and thinking. Once again, following Jesus is counter-cultural. Voting for Mary!

  222. Donna Reynolds's Gravatar Donna Reynolds
    March 7, 2019 - 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Would that we were all like Mary, but I voted for Martha because she made human mistakes and was chastised by Jesus and forgiven–and isn’t that a good lesson for us all.

  223. Ruth Anne Hill's Gravatar Ruth Anne Hill
    March 7, 2019 - 12:41 pm | Permalink

    My vote goes to Mary. I’m Mary “incarnate” as my gift of hospitality nurtures the spiritual side of life. While we often favor one side of the hospitality coin, we are all lost without both Mary and Martha in our lives.

  224. Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
    March 7, 2019 - 12:43 pm | Permalink

    This is my fourth or fifth year in Lent Madness, and this was one of the hardest votes I’ve faced. It would have been easier to have Mary and Martha vs somebody else (or some other pair). Even the two collects were the same! It’s hard to overlook Jesus saying Mary had chosen the better part. But Martha was so insightful and full of faith at the death of Lazarus. Contemplatives tend to lose in Lent Madness. But people often object to strange beast stories (that doesn’t seem to have been the case today, however!). Mary was a gender-role rebel. Martha took care of everybody. What a choice! I eventually went with Martha.

  225. John Miller's Gravatar John Miller
    March 7, 2019 - 12:44 pm | Permalink

    I was surprised that Martha, my favorite, has so many fans. In the early days of my faith, I liked Mary and thought Martha was just one if those persons who focus on the setting and not the content of the faith. I later came to see that a lot of Mary’s were more talk than action. Over the years I have become more “Marta” than”Mary.”

  226. Claire Woodley's Gravatar Claire Woodley
    March 7, 2019 - 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Mary is a badass. She’s right there with Mary the mother of Jesus in clearly and openly bucking the tradition, she along with Deborah and Huldah made room for all of us to be scholars and leaders. She is near and dear to me. Team Mary!

  227. Joy Cass's Gravatar Joy Cass
    March 7, 2019 - 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Definitely Martha. I love Mary, but without Martha, nothing would ever get done. But I love Mary’s desire to contemplate and learn from Jesus, too. Actually both are needed. They should only come as a pair – Saint “M&M” !

  228. Ellen in Worcester's Gravatar Ellen in Worcester
    March 7, 2019 - 12:52 pm | Permalink

    I’m a Martha. I sometimes wish I was a Mary, but realize my calling is to do the work. I feel more akin to faith in action, then a contemplative life. Therefore, I’m voting for Martha.

  229. March 7, 2019 - 12:54 pm | Permalink

    I can identify more with Martha, but a personal challenge for me is that I strive to emulate Mary more than I do currently. So I’m voting for Mary. Sorry, Martha.

  230. Melanie Mitchell's Gravatar Melanie Mitchell
    March 7, 2019 - 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Why didn’t the disciples help in the kitchen? Heck, why didn’t Jesus lend a hand in the kitchen while he taught? I never liked this gospel passage. Go Martha! No, actually, sit down and take a rest, Martha, we’ll wash the dishes for you.

    • Jennifer's Gravatar Jennifer
      March 7, 2019 - 1:09 pm | Permalink

      I think this when reading the passage of Jesus healing Peter’s mother-in-law. After she is healed, she gets up and makes them a meal. Why doesn’t Peter make the meal and let his mother-in-law rest?

  231. Iris's Gravatar Iris
    March 7, 2019 - 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Voted for Martha, as today is my mother’s birthday…Martha would have been 107 today. My sister Mary comes in a close second…..and they both fit their names.

  232. Mary-Theresa Anderson's Gravatar Mary-Theresa Anderson
    March 7, 2019 - 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Martha listened as she prepared food for the body. She was feeding her soul as she listened and the body as she prepared the nourishments.

  233. Jane Bucci's Gravatar Jane Bucci
    March 7, 2019 - 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Mary vs Martha on the first day; the SEC has outdone themselves! Martha that I have a tendency to be, I so strive to be more Mary so Mary caught my vote (despite the fact I started getting underdog vibes – a constant draw for me – as I read about Martha). Thrilled to see Oliver back, and now we have 7 year old Pailet. Lent Madness wonders never cease!

  234. MARY LYNN's Gravatar MARY LYNN
    March 7, 2019 - 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Hard working and Godly Martha, all the way!!!

  235. Rita Norris's Gravatar Rita Norris
    March 7, 2019 - 1:12 pm | Permalink

    I just had to vote for Martha; seems she always gets a bad rep! The work does need to be done, otherwise the intellectual stimulus will be suppressed. She is to be praised for sacrificing her nearness to Jesus to make certain He was given the very best they had to offer.

  236. Kathy's Gravatar Kathy
    March 7, 2019 - 1:24 pm | Permalink

    So this year begins with a hard choice. Martha or Mary? YES
    But I chose Martha. She had the gift of hospitality and used it. Doesn’t deserve the bad rap, imho

    March 7, 2019 - 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Here’s some food for thought. This is really Martha’s story. She’s the only one to whom Jesus speaks, and it is only Martha whom Luke has given anything to say.

    Luke’s story is totally different from John’s. In Luke, the village where they live is not named; Lazarus is not mentioned at all; there is no one named in the story besides Jesus. Was this a private dinner party for three?

    Or, as one feminist scholar points out, “diakonía”–which is the word we have taken to mean that Martha was in the kitchen–means “leadership” or “proclamation” for everyone else (Paul, Stephen, etc.). What if Martha was the leader of a gathering of Jesus’ listeners–not unlike the “house church” of a Lydia, or a Priscilla, or a Phoebe in Paul’s letters? The gospel doesn’t specify what Martha was doing. Her “many tasks” and “work” could refer to anything; it is only our assumption about women that leads us to conclude that she was fixing supper. Just sayin’!

  238. March 7, 2019 - 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Because I’m a Martha. And our writer failed to note that she was the first to declare, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”

  239. Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
    March 7, 2019 - 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, tried to vote for Mary, but I’m not ready for that yet. I always felt that Martha got a raw deal. Jesus shows up with his hungry entourage, and then he condones cutting the hospitality team in half. He doesn’t say, “You sit down, too, and we’ll all help you later.” “Or, maybe James and John can take a turn in the kitchen in the kitchen with you/for you.” Martha stays at her post, despite how much she may have wanted to sit with the master, and she gets chided for it. I think Jesus is very dismissive of Martha.

    Yeah, Mary gets the greatest of all commandments, but she doesn’t get the second one, so I am voting with Martha here, as I always do in my heart, while praying for the openness to see it another way eventually.

    • Barbara A.K. Franklin's Gravatar Barbara A.K. Franklin
      March 11, 2019 - 7:09 pm | Permalink

      But that’s it, exactly! If Martha had sat down and, perhaps said to Jesus, Lord do you mind if I listen too, and we just a simple meal later, would that be OK? Jesus would have said “Sure Martha, please come over here and sit here by me, We can all just go and make our own sandwiches later. Now I was just telling Mary about….” He knew the priorities and signalled them clearly. And I can imagine him coming out into the kitchen and making his own. Martha made her own hell by putting appearances first (hers as the hostess and the hospitality of her home.) That was NOT what Jesus wanted. Why did she get so many votes? I suspect the insidious influence of men who like to be served! Not very Christlike in my opinion!

  240. HI's Gravatar HI
    March 7, 2019 - 1:44 pm | Permalink


  241. Mother and Son's Gravatar Mother and Son
    March 7, 2019 - 1:45 pm | Permalink

    We had to choose Mary for the Lord did say “she chose the better part” and who’s to say no to that. You don’t gainsay the Lord if he says something else is the better road.
    The dishes aren’t going anywhere.

  242. Drusilla B Grubb's Gravatar Drusilla B Grubb
    March 7, 2019 - 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Jesus said Mary chose the “better part.” That’s good enough for me!

  243. Denise's Gravatar Denise
    March 7, 2019 - 1:55 pm | Permalink

    I vividly remember my mother and grandmother, devout women both, wondering what the Lord said when his dinner did not arrive on time, so in their honor and for all of us who said our prayers in the kitchen while making sure the unglamorous work got done, my vote goes to Martha!

  244. Mark's Gravatar Mark
    March 7, 2019 - 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Martha, dragon tamer. Yes!

  245. Gail Adams's Gravatar Gail Adams
    March 7, 2019 - 2:07 pm | Permalink

    At any other time, I would have voted for Martha. Martha was the pragmatic person, which I admire. However, when the blog writer talked about Mary, she said that Mary’ sitting at Jesus’s feet was a sign of discipleship – very unusual at that time. So here’s my vote, Mary. You are standing up for women being involved.

  246. Mary M Guertin's Gravatar Mary M Guertin
    March 7, 2019 - 2:32 pm | Permalink

    My name is Mary Martha. You’d think this, then, would be a tough decision for me. But as a “Martha”, I know that you can listen while you work! Martha gets my vote!

  247. Kerry Suggs's Gravatar Kerry Suggs
    March 7, 2019 - 2:33 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Mary. I am a Martha. Sometimes I wish I was more of a Mary..

  248. Jean's Gravatar Jean
    March 7, 2019 - 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Mary of Bethany chose the better thing, listening at Jesus’ feet. We too should imitate her actions. The perfect house, life.. is striving after wind to borrow the OT phrase.

  249. Kathleen's Gravatar Kathleen
    March 7, 2019 - 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Martha did what was–and still is–expected of women. As a girl, I always resented being the one who was volunteered to clean up after a church dinner (or any other social occasion) while the rest of the family (especially the males) sat and talked, and although I gladly host coffee hour from time to time at church (again–where are the menfolk?) I’d much rather be listening to the sermon than arranging cookies on platters, to be honest. I’ve been forced to be a Martha all my life when I’d rather be a Mary, so Mary it is.

  250. James Lodwick's Gravatar James Lodwick
    March 7, 2019 - 2:47 pm | Permalink

    This is a great matchup! Perhaps in a sense Luke already puts the two sisters in competition. I admire them both. Sitting at the feet of Jesus, as Mary does, and being open to learn from him is surely essential to being a Christian. I voted, however, for Martha, because I believe caring for others through hospitality is a great virtue, and also often takes a lot of hard, slogging work. I admire that work and know from my own poor efforts of hospitality both how difficult and how rewarding it can be. I’m thinking now with great admiration of those who are attempting to mitigate the horrors on our southern border by doing what they can to offer hospitality, medical care, food, drink and lodging and thus soften the pain of those fleeing violence and poverty and who are now further afflicted by an implacable and unfeeling and even racist US administration. Hurrah for all the Martha’s who are courageously and faithfully trying to help there. Holy Martha, pray for them and us!

  251. Beverly Duncan's Gravatar Beverly Duncan
    March 7, 2019 - 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Nothing like starting Lent Madness with a conundrum! I think that there is a bit of both Martha and Mary in each of us. Am definitely more Martha than Mary, but the clincher for my giving her my
    vote was her slaying of the dragon-proving that that is not just a male occupation!

  252. Emma's Gravatar Emma
    March 7, 2019 - 3:01 pm | Permalink

    I choose Mary because she is gentle and has an almost pure heart. She sits and listens to Jesus as a true follower!

  253. Tommie's Gravatar Tommie
    March 7, 2019 - 3:02 pm | Permalink

    What a hard choice to start this year’s Lent Madness. My first thought was Martha because I am definitely more like her. But I think I need to be more like Mary. So she gets my vote.

  254. Leamarie's Gravatar Leamarie
    March 7, 2019 - 3:12 pm | Permalink

    I have some of both Mary and Martha in me. I feel compelled to do my part and so am sometimes a bit resentful at the cleaning up and cooking. But when I follow my heart I follow Mary and listen, talk, and sometimes am enlightened. It is then, when my heart is filled and my spirit challenged I feel most fulfilled and content. Mary for me, though I totally empathize with Martha. I think they are really two sides of the same coin. We need both.

  255. Jane Carter's Gravatar Jane Carter
    March 7, 2019 - 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Sitting in a hotel room waiting to attend my sister’s memorial service I cannot help but think how vastly different siblings can be. I loved my sister very much but we were definitely different. Jesus clearly loved both these women, but in the end I went with the listener. Mary wins in my book.

    • Pamela P.'s Gravatar Pamela P.
      March 7, 2019 - 6:22 pm | Permalink

      My condolences on your loss. May your sister rest in peace and rise in glory.

  256. Audrey Claire Lawrence's Gravatar Audrey Claire Lawrence
    March 7, 2019 - 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Mary and Martha are also the classic introvert/extrovert duo. Maratha is actually quite happy to be in the kitchen, maybe with a few close friends, to cook a wonderful meal for Jesus and his followers. As a rich woman, she is very unlikely to be alone and will have kitchen cooks and servants. Encouraged by them, she is bold to chastise Jesus… and he sets her straight.

    Mary is the impulsive, says what comes out before she thinks, but very warm and welcoming hospitable woman. After welcoming everyone into the living area while they await supper, she tends to all their needs, makes them feel welcome and encourages Jesus to relax among friends. As a learner, she is excited to hear his thoughts and cannot move away from his feet, except to jump up and lavishly gives to him her most valuable possession.

    As men have written down this history, she has been give a bum rap and so people will tend to side with her sister to get the winning votes, but take a moment to think about this tender-hearted young girl who is so excited to have her eyes, ears and mind open to the ideas and stories of Jesus.

    After all, we are all a mixture of Mary and Martha, but we have out dominant trait for how we would like to gather information.

  257. Gwen's Gravatar Gwen
    March 7, 2019 - 3:23 pm | Permalink

    My mother, of blessed memory, always thought Martha got a bum rap, so, of course, I had to vote for her.

  258. Patricia White's Gravatar Patricia White
    March 7, 2019 - 3:31 pm | Permalink

    The blogger got me at Martha’s statement: “All the world was not sufficient to serve such a guest!”

  259. Linda Watson-Lorde's Gravatar Linda Watson-Lorde
    March 7, 2019 - 3:31 pm | Permalink

    I di vote for Martha, in honor of my mum, who was born on July 29. My mum would have done exactly as Martha did. She would make sure all was fed and complained as Martha did, that she was getting no help.

  260. March 7, 2019 - 3:35 pm | Permalink

    I love both these women, and at other times I have voted for Martha first; but at this time and place I hear Mary as the voice needed for our culture and faith… where a lot of well-intentioned pragmatic decisions seem to have forgotten, or overwhelmed.. the essential heart of the gospel.

  261. Susan Wall's Gravatar Susan Wall
    March 7, 2019 - 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Martha is the “patron saint of cooks, dietitians, domestic help, housekeepers, servants, and waitpersons”– people whose work, like hers, often goes unappreciated and even (unless they speak up as she did) unrecognized. She has my vote.

  262. March 7, 2019 - 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Having never done this before it is so interesting that at least the choice between these two, is seems to be action verses contemplation. yes they both did both But interesting in our society there is very little call to prayer and meditation while there is plenty of failed and successful good works.
    All prayer is good? maybe?

  263. Nancy Larkin's Gravatar Nancy Larkin
    March 7, 2019 - 3:48 pm | Permalink

    While both sisters have much to emulate, I voted for Mary: Jesus was with them for such a little time, and Mary chose to sit closely and hear what he had to say. The meal will get served; the dishes will get done… but Jesus will be off again on his journeys, and Mary will be able to remember all that Jesus said that day.

  264. March 7, 2019 - 3:48 pm | Permalink

    I’m a Martha who longs to be a Mary, but I have to clean house first!

    I have followed my heart rather than my brain and have voted for Mary of Bethany.

  265. Anita's Gravatar Anita
    March 7, 2019 - 4:21 pm | Permalink

    I went with Martha since she also worship Jesus as did Mary. Serving the Lord

  266. Gail's Gravatar Gail
    March 7, 2019 - 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Mary..I am ordained.

  267. March 7, 2019 - 4:41 pm | Permalink

    (Third try)
    I voted for Mary, not only because that’s also my name but because she “chose the better part.” The incident calls up two memories from around the same time: when I was one of a group of women who prepared dinner for a group of clergymen (all indeed men) meeting at my church and caught only snatches of their conversation but would have loved to hear more, and when my mother (whose name was not Martha but Mabel–a very different set of women!–got miffed at me when she was babysitting my sister’s two preschoolers one Sunday morning and I waltzed off to church.

    As for Mary of Bethany, maybe she washed the dishes after the guests left. 🙂

  268. Anne Clayton's Gravatar Anne Clayton
    March 7, 2019 - 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Martha. If I could replay it, they would all three be in the kitchen, with Jesus teaching while he chopped vegetables.
    I enjoyed reading the Shack by the way. 🙂

  269. March 7, 2019 - 5:13 pm | Permalink

    Why am I not allowed to vote?

  270. Marjorie Menaul's Gravatar Marjorie Menaul
    March 7, 2019 - 5:25 pm | Permalink

    I’ve heard many more sermons praising Martha than Mary, and known many more Marthas in the church than Marys. So it’s no surprise to me that the voting favors Martha- that’s who women in the church know we’re supposed to be. I chose Mary because I think she’s underappreciated. Jesus gave her to us as a model – even if we aren’t Marys by nature, that’s something to take seriously.

  271. Gloria Rousseau's Gravatar Gloria Rousseau
    March 7, 2019 - 5:37 pm | Permalink

    No vote! You are driving a wedge between two sisters!

  272. Joanne Crowe's Gravatar Joanne Crowe
    March 7, 2019 - 5:39 pm | Permalink

    I am not part of your community but am presently working on purchasing a condo close by. I am an active member of All Saints Parish in Wolfeboro NH.I decided to check in to your Facebook
    Account to visit with you and will join your Lenten madness. I vote for Martha since I too would be in the kitchen preparing food which is what I often do for coffee hour after our services.

  273. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    March 7, 2019 - 5:55 pm | Permalink

    In earlier life as wife, mom, teacher I would vote for Martha. Now retired and enjoying more time to read and study I appreciate Mary’s decision to put the chores aside, build relationships by listening.

  274. Gregory Skizim's Gravatar Gregory Skizim
    March 7, 2019 - 5:57 pm | Permalink

    Game time

  275. Janice Bruce's Gravatar Janice Bruce
    March 7, 2019 - 6:02 pm | Permalink

    As a “working mother”, a teacher, not only my classroom, but also my household motto was, “A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING AND EVERYTHING IN ITS PLACE.” That really worked. See the Martha in me?
    I thought that in retirement I would just relax about everything and stop the old mindset. 31 years later, I have to admit the truth. That has never happened. The older we get, the more we become who we were. In my heart of hearts, I still try to see me as a Mary. HA HA ON YOU, JANICE Sigh.

  276. Linda Burnett's Gravatar Linda Burnett
    March 7, 2019 - 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Well, I surprised myself by voting for Martha. I think it was the fight with the dragon creature that swayed me…and I need to be more of a Martha these days. I’m more comfortable being a Mary, but Lent is about challenging our comfort zones, so there you go.

  277. Irene's Gravatar Irene
    March 7, 2019 - 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Is it more important to hold the correct beliefs or to act in the correct way? To think right or to do right? The world goes on unchanged by my beliefs, but perhaps my actions can have an impact. So I stand with Martha.

  278. Karen Cliffe's Gravatar Karen Cliffe
    March 7, 2019 - 6:16 pm | Permalink

    I have been accused of voting a second time. I promise you, I did not try to vote until my husband reminded me this evening.
    Having recruited my husband and several church friends to participate in The Madness I am sorely disappointed to be denied my vote on this momentous day of Mary vs. Martha.

  279. March 7, 2019 - 6:26 pm | Permalink

    That’s how I voted on my sheet. Unfortunately, there is no radio button for me to cast my vote for Mary of Bethany. 🙁

  280. Carol Tyrrell's Gravatar Carol Tyrrell
    March 7, 2019 - 6:26 pm | Permalink

    I am a nurse, therefore a pragmatist, cleaning up ready for whatever comes through the door. I hope I will have sufficient insight to recognize Jesus when he comes!

  281. Anne Kasin's Gravatar Anne Kasin
    March 7, 2019 - 6:40 pm | Permalink

    This is my first exposure to this competition and today’s choice seems very challenging – can’t wait to see the results tomorrow! The story of these two saintly sisters has always interested me because, I’m more like Martha but strive to be more like Mary. What I have ALWAYS wished is to have heard the conversation between the sisters after Jesus and the other guests all went home!

  282. Sue Goodman's Gravatar Sue Goodman
    March 7, 2019 - 6:40 pm | Permalink

    Great start to the contest – you guys mean business!
    Love & blessings to all.

  283. Janet Birckhead's Gravatar Janet Birckhead
    March 7, 2019 - 6:45 pm | Permalink

    I don’t have Martha’s gift of hospitality, but I am a perfectionist (attempting recovery, by God’s grace). I get upset with myself when I don’t get “enough” done and struggle to learn to just “be.” I can sit and read or watch TV for hours, but I find it very hard to meditate or just “sit before the Lord.” I need to learn from both of the sisters, but I voted for Mary.

  284. Linda's Gravatar Linda
    March 7, 2019 - 6:46 pm | Permalink

    As a Benedictine oblate, I voted for Martha who epitomizes hospitality.

  285. Linda's Gravatar Linda
    March 7, 2019 - 6:52 pm | Permalink

    Jumping in…My very first Lent Madness

  286. Andrea's Gravatar Andrea
    March 7, 2019 - 7:04 pm | Permalink

    Yeah! Here we go!!

  287. Gloria Duncan's Gravatar Gloria Duncan
    March 7, 2019 - 7:05 pm | Permalink

    Such tough choices! Being a practical person, I am much like Martha and want everything to be perfect for our very special guest.

  288. Alex (age 7) and Mommy's Gravatar Alex (age 7) and Mommy
    March 7, 2019 - 7:12 pm | Permalink

    I (Alex) voted for Martha because I agree you should warn people about the stinkiness of dead bodies. And, Mommy voted for her because somebody has to do the dishes.

  289. Deborah Bedard's Gravatar Deborah Bedard
    March 7, 2019 - 7:41 pm | Permalink

    There are two types of people “human beings” and “human doings”. Martha was a human doing while Mary was a human being. I wish to be more like Mary, but alas, I tend to be more like Martha……I voted for Mary…

  290. Rev. Deacon Josie Williams's Gravatar Rev. Deacon Josie Williams
    March 7, 2019 - 7:51 pm | Permalink

    I loved for Mary because sometimes I need to stop and sit at Jesus feet and marvel at the wonder of it all. I can get too busy that nothing is accomplished and obstacles to my grace abound.

  291. Ruth Koedyk's Gravatar Ruth Koedyk
    March 7, 2019 - 7:54 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always identified with Mary. I’m not a foodie & the daily chores of planning, shopping, preparing & cleaning up of food are accepted in my role of mother, wife & welcomer of visitors but they are not my joy! I was voting for Mary before reading through all your comments & learning so much from you all. I see the beauty in Martha’s role & have voted for her!

  292. Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
    March 7, 2019 - 7:59 pm | Permalink

    Mary for me. Lord, give me the patience of Mary to be still and listen, to prioritize You in the craziness of life. Amen.

    • Donald Harting's Gravatar Donald Harting
      March 7, 2019 - 9:23 pm | Permalink


  293. Margaret Sharp's Gravatar Margaret Sharp
    March 7, 2019 - 8:01 pm | Permalink

    A new Lent tradition – our family of 4 ( 2 teens) is reading our Lent Madness guide at the supper table and voting as a group. Tonight Martha won hands down. We liked that she was focused on caring for others. Halo onward!!!

  294. Melissa's Gravatar Melissa
    March 7, 2019 - 8:15 pm | Permalink

    Jesus clearly said that Mary chose the better part, but we can’t help but sympathize with hardworking Martha. The hospitality of our Marthas gives people a chance to sit together in fellowship — but what about our Mary bible study and Sunday school teachers? Both kinds of fellowship are important. It’s very hard to choose, and I have a lot of gratitude for the hardworking and selfless Marthas. But I also have to hear what Jesus said. So I vote for Mary.

  295. Bob Corey's Gravatar Bob Corey
    March 7, 2019 - 8:22 pm | Permalink

    I’m confused here. I had thought the aristocracy dwelt in Bethphage, while Bethany was an alms community, typified by Simon the Leper. So thinking of the three siblings as wealthy is dissonant, but amply supported in the blog.

  296. Peggy Hans's Gravatar Peggy Hans
    March 7, 2019 - 8:26 pm | Permalink

    Martha does what needs doing. Thank God for those of the Martha persuasion who grace my life. Mary sits and listens. I don’t claim anything akin to her spirituality, but I admire her ability to set tasks aside and focus on Jesus. Too much stuff left undone weighs on me. I want to cultivate the Mary attitude right now. She gets my vote.

  297. Andrew Garrett's Gravatar Andrew Garrett
    March 7, 2019 - 8:27 pm | Permalink

    As a man who loves to cook I had to vote for my Patron Saint Martha

  298. Laura Clarke's Gravatar Laura Clarke
    March 7, 2019 - 8:36 pm | Permalink

    It’s Martha! She tamed a dragon, for goodness sake!

  299. Mathew Oakes's Gravatar Mathew Oakes
    March 7, 2019 - 8:38 pm | Permalink


  300. Joan Reyes's Gravatar Joan Reyes
    March 7, 2019 - 8:40 pm | Permalink

    Martha! Martha! Martha! Remember that the next time you are serving as part of the hospitality team during Coffee Hour!

  301. Chris's Gravatar Chris
    March 7, 2019 - 8:45 pm | Permalink

    Okay so of Course Martha is winning. All the Martha’s have it together enough to VOTE. The Mary’s are chilling. 🙂

  302. March 7, 2019 - 8:48 pm | Permalink

    Martha. Because someone has to cook, clean, and tame the dragons!

  303. Diane's Gravatar Diane
    March 7, 2019 - 8:53 pm | Permalink

    The commentary for Mary helped me to see her in a new light and,as a feminist, I admire how progressive and assertive she was in choosing to ‘get out of the kitchen ‘ and in the living room with the guys. But,as a former waitress, the Thanksgiving hostess and the pragmatic one. Had to go with my girl Martha. Here’s hoping that we can take the good qualities from them both. We Martha’s can give ourselves permission to be Mary’s and the Marys can be a little more action based.

  304. Sai's Gravatar Sai
    March 7, 2019 - 9:05 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, folks, but Martha’s behavior and attitude have always irritated me. What kind of hostess complains to her guest of honor about her sister’s behavior, putting the guest in the position of passing judgment on Mary, who, by the way, is being respectfully attentive to said guest.
    Martha is very thorough and organized, which is great, except she judges everyone else by her own (self-imposed) very high standards.
    Meanwhile, Mary seems to be a more go-with-the-flow kind of person. She lives in the moment, savoring life, while Martha is obsessed with completing tasks.
    So who is the better of the two? The one who serves everyone with a grudging, complaining attitude or the graciously attentive one who’s totally focused on their beloved friend and guest?
    Yeah, I’m definitely voting for Mary!

    • Donald Harting's Gravatar Donald Harting
      March 7, 2019 - 9:19 pm | Permalink

      Right on!!!!

    • Donald Harting's Gravatar Donald Harting
      March 7, 2019 - 9:20 pm | Permalink

      Right on!

  305. Pam Goodrich's Gravatar Pam Goodrich
    March 7, 2019 - 9:06 pm | Permalink

    Martha , because she wanted to be the one to serve Christ .. AND she tamed a dragon !!! How cool is that?? !!

  306. Henry Troup's Gravatar Henry Troup
    March 7, 2019 - 9:10 pm | Permalink

    As a Canadian engineer, I was enrolled as a Son of Martha. (After Kipling’s poem). So, my vote is clear.

  307. Mary's Gravatar Mary
    March 7, 2019 - 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Who did Jesus hold up as a role model (ie, saint) for us?

  308. Beth Landrum's Gravatar Beth Landrum
    March 7, 2019 - 9:23 pm | Permalink

    I have always preferred the Mary , but if needed I can be Martha, as long as I can still listen to the teachings. With open kitchens that is possible today!

  309. Ronnie Warren's Gravatar Ronnie Warren
    March 7, 2019 - 9:27 pm | Permalink

    I am blown away by the responses to the first candidates! Martha gets my vote. Hospitality is such a vital ministry– who has not been involved in the joys and woes of getting volunteers for Cofee Hour? While I jest, I do offer the example of the Benedictines and Franciscans, for whom hospitality has been a hallmark for hundreds of years. Get me my dish towel. In fact, make a Martha Towel and sell it in the Lentorium!

  310. Pat's Gravatar Pat
    March 7, 2019 - 9:29 pm | Permalink

    It’s 7:10 pm God’s time (Mountain) I don’t know if this is open. I was really working my brain on this one. For me, Martha’s declaration that she knew Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God come into the world means more than who cooks or who thirsts to learn. When Peter said it, Jesus made a big deal of it…a direct revelation from God! No such credit to Martha .

  311. Meg K's Gravatar Meg K
    March 7, 2019 - 9:35 pm | Permalink

    After their brother had died Mary stayed home and Martha went out to meet Jesus on the road. It is to Martha, and her alone that Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life.” And Martha tells Jesus in no uncertain terms that she knows who he is. “You are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.” Martha’s faith and knowledge too often gets overlooked. I give thanks for the examples of both Martha and her sister but Martha gets my vote.

  312. Daniel Weaver's Gravatar Daniel Weaver
    March 7, 2019 - 9:42 pm | Permalink

    I voted but I already forgot which saint I voted for! I think it was Martha. I’m just not sure how to play. Can I fill out a complete bracket now? Thanks.

  313. Jan's Gravatar Jan
    March 7, 2019 - 9:46 pm | Permalink

    Martha. Because I’ll bet Jesus ate the lunch.

  314. TJ's Gravatar TJ
    March 7, 2019 - 9:58 pm | Permalink

    Mary. Although I love Martha’s pragmatism and work ethic, I have to come down on the side of a woman who understands that a healthy desire for self-enrichment and knowledge is neither aberrant nor something to feel guilty about. I don’t think Jesus was scolding Martha as much as pointing out that many of the social pressures we put on ourselves are ultimately optional.

  315. Galbert's Gravatar Galbert
    March 7, 2019 - 10:04 pm | Permalink

    I notice that, while Martha is recognized as a Saint, Mary is not. I will think of her as the patron saint of women who enter the ministers.

  316. Molly's Gravatar Molly
    March 7, 2019 - 10:19 pm | Permalink

    I voted Mary because she is my Patron Saint!!! One of Jesus’ closest female companions!

  317. March 7, 2019 - 10:21 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Mary. My mother is a Martha and there were times and still are times since she’s 85 that she could sit down and enjoy the excellent meal that she cooked and enjoy the people for whom she so loves and wants to make a good impression. Or let others do the cooking for her … like me. I’m a definite Mary, perhaps obliviously so. So you can imagine what my growing up was like. Don’t get me wrong. The Martha’s are greatly appreciated and loved in some cases. Some can just go overboard on both sides.

  318. Georgia's Gravatar Georgia
    March 7, 2019 - 10:23 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Martha, cause I think of all the people behind the scenes at our church food events (and there are many) who never ask for recognition but are just as in love with Jesus as the rest of us. Without Martha’s food we wouldn’t eat! Love this discipline!

  319. Susannah_11's Gravatar Susannah_11
    March 7, 2019 - 10:23 pm | Permalink

    I think Mary of Bethany is the better one!!!

  320. Diane in Maine's Gravatar Diane in Maine
    March 7, 2019 - 10:23 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Martha in honor of all the “church ladies” who prepare meals we enjoy and then wash up afterwards. Where in the world would we be without them? DHH

  321. Isabelle Melese-d'Hospital's Gravatar Isabelle Melese-d'Hospital
    March 7, 2019 - 10:51 pm | Permalink

    Although i am a Martha by nature, i read this story as a call from Jesus to pay attention to the spiritual over the material, certainly when the material can wait. How wonderfully feminist of him to honor Mary with the role of student to his rabbi! We Marthas would be well served by spending a little more energy on listening to God, and taking some time for our own spiritual nourishment, before acting as the pragmatic hostess. The 2 are not mutually exclusive, but Jesus was the “Way, the Truth and the Light”, coming to us a human to engage us directly. So Mary gets my vote.

  322. Beaverton Tom's Gravatar Beaverton Tom
    March 7, 2019 - 10:56 pm | Permalink

    I’m usually in Mary’s camp. But today we need doers and pragmatic leadership. We can always whistle while we work…

  323. Nora's Gravatar Nora
    March 7, 2019 - 11:07 pm | Permalink

    So many comments wow! Sister vs sister in the first match up. This is madness!

  324. Carol Gibbs's Gravatar Carol Gibbs
    March 7, 2019 - 11:22 pm | Permalink

    I know Jesus made it sound like Mary made the better choice but without Martha’s it just doesn’t get done!

  325. Gloria F. Ishida's Gravatar Gloria F. Ishida
    March 8, 2019 - 1:00 am | Permalink

    I voted for Martha who always gets a bum rap. There is more to her than one might think. Jesus went around free loading but he didn’t put a good word in for Martha. I know this is an abbreviaetd story, but he might have said, “Mary, let’s work together in the kitcjen and we can a discussion at the table.”

  326. Terrie Ann Wallace's Gravatar Terrie Ann Wallace
    March 8, 2019 - 1:38 am | Permalink

    I voted for Mary as she is a wonderful reminder of the need to take time, put all the busyness aside, center and just chill for a while. I too loved the rap, and am excited the games have begun again! The church I attend doesn’t seem to be doing Lent Madness this year but I also couldn’t help but notice- guess what song was also used during the Ash Wednesday service although they didn’t use the Lent Madness lyrics! Oooh well- maybe next Sunday! I also wanted to comment on the message on Lent as an Invitation as well, Beautiful, and so easy to identify with as well Scott and Tim- thank you so much!

  327. March 8, 2019 - 2:55 am | Permalink

    Mary, who claimed a place traditionally reserved for men, and whose sharing of honest emotion called up a matching human response in Jesus.

  328. Mollie Turner+'s Gravatar Mollie Turner+
    March 8, 2019 - 3:10 am | Permalink

    Late into the game, and apparently on the losing side. Sad to see my girls pitted against each other! They are both my matron saints, given that I was born on their feast day—when I found that out, it explained so much about my conflicted life! I love them both, but as my name is Mary, daughter an great-granddaughter and mother of great women named Mary, she had to get my vote. But Martha’s my girl, too, and she’s feisty. You other saints, LOOK OUT!!

  329. Clueless's Gravatar Clueless
    March 8, 2019 - 7:09 am | Permalink

    Hello All. A little help, please… I invited a coworker to play against me for a charity wager and he asked tons of questions about scoring (he’s a true sports guy who does sports brackets and I’ve never done one). How are we meant score each match (points? how many? when?)? Do we fill out the whole bracket in advance (he said that’s how brackets are done)? What happens when a chosen saint is eleminated before the end? I’d be very grateful for any light you can shed, thank you! Wishing you all a blessed Lent.

  330. Shirley Walker's Gravatar Shirley Walker
    March 8, 2019 - 7:16 am | Permalink

    How about working together, Mary, so you both share the load and the joy of time with Jesus!

  331. Pam's Gravatar Pam
    March 8, 2019 - 7:21 am | Permalink

    This is my first Lent madness. Voted for Martha as my mom’s birthday was July 29th, Martha’s feast day and It is truly an honor to serve others as Martha did.

  332. Sharon's Gravatar Sharon
    March 8, 2019 - 8:08 am | Permalink

    Voted for Mary because she opened possibilities for women to break free of traditionally assigned roles (and it is International Women’s Day after all).

  333. Pat Downey's Gravatar Pat Downey
    March 8, 2019 - 11:29 am | Permalink

    I vote for Martha because I am a Martha myself!

  334. RuthAnn's Gravatar RuthAnn
    March 8, 2019 - 12:28 pm | Permalink

    I have never heard of this poem, so for everyone else, here it is a link to it:

  335. Bree's Gravatar Bree
    March 8, 2019 - 12:29 pm | Permalink

    I think the bio of Martha may have tipped the scales because of the inclusion of the dragon slaying story (myth).

  336. Patricia H Laybourn's Gravatar Patricia H Laybourn
    March 8, 2019 - 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Loved reading others comments. This is the first year I have become “Madness” and enjoying it. I’m a Mary, let others do the kitchen. It strange yet good how we balance.

  337. Greg's Gravatar Greg
    March 9, 2019 - 11:38 am | Permalink

    I thought I would vote for Martha, but I’m really like Mary. She’ll help cleanup – after the Guest has left. I also appreciate this highlighting of a woman sitting at Jesus’ feet – given the history of the church toward women.

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