Well, friends, we set out upon this Lent Madness journey over five weeks ago on “Ash Thursday.” With your help we have narrowed the field of 32 saints down to just two: Martha of Bethany and Pandita Ramabai (who defeated Zenaida 61% to 39% yesterday). Who will win the coveted Golden Halo of Lent Madness 2019? Only 24 hours and your voting participation will reveal this holy mystery.
Regardless of the ultimate outcome, we’ve met some truly remarkable saintly folks along the way. Perhaps you learned about some saints you’d never heard of or maybe you renewed acquaintances with saints who have long offered inspiration. Of course the entire notion of placing saints in a bracket is absurd — each “contestant” has already earned a crown of righteousness in addition to a “golden halo.” But at the heart of Lent Madness is the abiding conviction that encountering those who have come before us in the faith enriches and enlivens our own walk with the risen Christ.
In the process of this whimsical Lenten devotion we’ve all made some new online friends, encountered a community of believers who take their faith but not themselves too seriously, learned a few things, were inspired by saintly witnesses, and had a lot fun along the way.
Of course we literally couldn’t have done this without our stellar Celebrity Bloggers to whom we offer sincere gratitude: Amber Belldene, Laurie Brock, Megan Castellan, Anna Fitch Courie, David Creech, Marcus Halley, David Hansen, Carol Howard Meritt, Emily McFarlan Miller, and David Sibley. Thanks to Bracket Czar Adam Thomas for his unsung behind-the-scenes work in keeping the bracket updated daily — in his inimitable style. You all rock! And we’re all grateful for your good writing, good humor, and adhering to most, if not all, of the SEC-imposed deadlines.
We’re also grateful to the Forward Movement staff who have supported this endeavor: Richelle Thompson, Carole Miller, Jason Merritt, Alyssa Finke, and Alexis Fortuna Caoili, as well as everyone who answered the phone in the Lentorium and all the other things to make Lent Madness successful: Tania Z. Jones, Rachel Jones, Hugo Olaiz, Allison Sandlin Liles, Brandon Hill, Miriam McKenney, Jay Sidebotham, Loren Dixon, Samantha Franklin, Chris Yaw, Liz Brignac, Karen Robertson Henry, Christina Dorn, Jane Paraskevopoulos, Barbara Hine, Vicki Everett, Amy Golden, Kathy Jose, Aleia Robinson, Peggy Sanchez, Debbie Springer, and the office mascot, George T. Dog.
Finally, thanks to all of you who participated by voting, commenting, drinking coffee out of Lent Madness mugs, filling out brackets, talking about saints at coffee hour, liking us on Facebook or following us on Twitter, and allowing us to play a small role in your Lenten journey. We’ve loved having each one of you along for the “madness” and on behalf of the Supreme Executive Committee we wish you a blessed Holy Week and a joyous Easter.
But enough gratitude. We have a Golden Halo to award! As with all the matchups, the polls will be open for 24 hours and the winner will be announced right here at 8:00 am Eastern Time on Maundy Thursday. At this point, everything about these two worthy saints has been said (though if you need some refreshers, click on the Bracket tab and scroll down).
Today, we have simply asked our remaining celebrity blogger, Amber Belldene (who has faithfully advocated for both Martha of Bethany and Pandita Ramabai) to provide us with one image and one quote.
The rest is up to you, the Lent Madness voting public. So go do your thing! And thanks for playing along this year — we’re delighted you joined us on the journey.
Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” - Martha of Bethany (John 11:27)
A life totally committed to God has nothing to fear, nothing to lose, nothing to regret. - Pandita Ramabai
Martha of Bethany vs. Pandita Ramabai
Total Voters: 8,000