Joanna the Myrrhbearer vs. Bartimaeus

Today in Lent Madness, we head back to the Biblical quadrant as Joanna the Myrrhbearer takes on Bartimaeus. The winner will face Joseph in the Elate Eight. Should Joanna have brought gold or frankincense instead? We’ll soon find out.

Yesterday Harriet Tubman swept past James Solomon Russell 75% to 25%. She’ll lock horns with Herman of Alaska in the Elate Eight.

Joanna the Myrrhbearer

“Hardly anyone knows Joanna,” Elisabeth Moltmanm-Wendel writes in “The Women Around Jesus.”

Theologians largely have ignored Joanna’s presence in the biblical texts, according to Moltmann-Wendel. So have many authors writing about the women of the Bible. And a journalist reviewing a modern biography of Jesus (not this journalist) once mocked the “fabrication” of a character named Joanna.

Joanna is named just twice in Luke’s Gospel: first, among the female disciples who followed Jesus and bankrolled his ministry, and then among the women who came to prepare Jesus’ body for burial (hence the myrrh) and found his tomb empty.

But legend and scholarship fill in many of the blanks in Joanna’s story.

Most colorfully, Orthodox tradition has Joanna chasing down John the Baptist’s head.

Luke identifies Joanna’s husband as Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household, which must’ve been awkward when Chuza’s boss had Jesus’ cousin John the Baptist beheaded. The Gospels tell us that John’s body was retrieved by his followers, and tradition, that his head was tossed in an unclean place.

Joanna, perhaps thumbing her nose, went after John’s head and gave it an honorable burial — on Herod’s estate.

Scholar Richard Bauckham, in his book “Gospel Women,” fills in Joanna’s Jewish background, how lavish her life would have been as a member of the Herodian court, the freedom that would have allowed her to give generously to Jesus’ ministry, how wide a gulf she crossed in following Jesus to the margins.

Bauckham writes that she could have remained a “sympathizer with Jesus’ movement without leaving her home and social location.” “But Joanna took the step of discipleship, for her a step across the whole of the social gulf that separated the Tiberian elite from the ordinary people, not to mention the beggars, the prostitutes, and other outcasts with whom Jesus habitually associated,” he said.

She may even have been one of Luke’s sources for his Gospel.

John Bunyan also writes in “The Pilgrim’s Progress” about Joanna and the female disciples: “I read not, that ever any many did give unto Christ so much as one groat; but the women followed him, and ministered to him of their substance.”

And were you hoping to see Joanna’s Round of 32 opponent Junia in the Saintly 16, I bring you good news of great joy: Some believe Joanna is the same person as Junia, identified as “outstanding among the apostles” in Paul’s letter to the Romans.

Everybody won that round. And everybody wins for Joanna’s contributions to Jesus’ ministry and to the early church.

Emily McFarlan Miller


Bartimaeus the beggar made the plea
“Son of David, please have mercy on me!”
Drawn to what he deemed right
In his faith he gained sight;
May that blind man’s gift of light come to me. (Lent Madness limerick by John Cabot)

Bartimaeus’ simple prayer, “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!” has been prayed by many people throughout time. This prayer has been used in sermons and bible studies and healing services and some even attribute it as being the basis of The Jesus Prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me.” Some recite the Jesus Prayer and include a last part, “a sinner” to show repentance. The Jesus prayer is used widely throughout the Orthodox Church and many other Christian denominations.

Both prayers are said to be used as mantras (or, repetitive prayers) that heal, restore, ground, and balance and are powerful especially because they invoke the name of Jesus and demonstrate our need of saving. The prayers can be used in monastic life and in everyday life and are usually said using a prayer rope. They can also be used in combination with breathing techniques such as invoking the name of Jesus while inhaling and asking Jesus to have mercy on us while exhaling.

Another way of approaching Bartimaeus’ story is by focusing on the conversation he had with Jesus and using that as a catalyst for personal conversations with Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asks Bartimaeus and everyone. As this prayerful conversation starts, each person can start by taking deep breaths and thinking about the question and specific answers in their hearts. It did not take Bartimaeus long to answer but it could be because he had been waiting for years to be near Jesus and have Jesus’ undivided attention. It may take others a long time to believe that Jesus is asking them that question.

Oh that we may be as bold as Bartimaeus, to stand up, be loud, not give up, and ask for what we want.

Sandra Montes

Joanna the Myrrhbearer vs. Bartimaeus

  • Joanna (65%, 4,351 Votes)
  • Bartimaeus (35%, 2,294 Votes)

Total Voters: 6,645

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96 Comments to "Joanna the Myrrhbearer vs. Bartimaeus"

  1. March 26, 2020 - 8:00 am | Permalink

    Today’s Lent Madness match up is brought to you by 1980s pop music…
    Joanna (I Love You) sung by Kool and the Gang (1983)
    Rock Me, Bartimaeus sung by Falco (1985)

    • rrockinrrobyn's Gravatar rrockinrrobyn
      March 26, 2020 - 8:49 am | Permalink

      I enjoy your posts everyday – thank you for them. Does anyone know how John Cabot is doing? I am concerned we’ve heard nothing from him in awhile…

      • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
        March 26, 2020 - 9:53 am | Permalink

        He writes later in the day than he did last year. Check back in.

      • March 26, 2020 - 10:42 am | Permalink

        Yes, Robyn, where and how is John Cabot doing? It is concerning we have not seen his lyrics which were typically the first Comment of each match.

      • Deborah Gardner Walker's Gravatar Deborah Gardner Walker
        March 26, 2020 - 11:34 am | Permalink

        John is well, he is very busy with tasks in our parish St. Peter Beverly (MA) related to the pandemic. Check out our Facebook page to see a video replay of Morning Prayer from this past Sunday. John assisted our Rector, Manny Faria.

        In addition, John is helping a lot of people individually. He went to Whole Foods for me and my husband while we were under quarantine due to possible exposure to the virus. Fear not! He’ll be back to Lent Madness!

      • John Cabot's Gravatar John Cabot
        March 26, 2020 - 1:19 pm | Permalink

        Not to worry. As Susan points out, I’ve been reading and posting much later over the last few days, as I am busy with other tasks for much of the morning nowadays.

        I was torn today, as my bracket pick is Joanna, yet Sandra Montes did me the honor of including my earlier homage to Bartimaeus in her homily today. For this day of Lent, I will abstain from limericking. If you haven’t seen my recent efforts, you can find them at and

      • Jennifer L Bartlett's Gravatar Jennifer L Bartlett
        March 26, 2020 - 8:20 pm | Permalink

        me to

  2. Rene Jamieson's Gravatar Rene Jamieson
    March 26, 2020 - 8:14 am | Permalink

    No contest for me today. The story of Bartimaeus has never failed to move me ever since I was a child. While I admire Joanna, blind Bartimaeus’ blind faith does it for me.

    • Donna's Gravatar Donna
      March 26, 2020 - 8:58 am | Permalink

      I second that, Rene.

    • Robert Coates's Gravatar Robert Coates
      March 26, 2020 - 5:43 pm | Permalink

      I have terrible eyesight, even with glasses. Bartimaeus appeals to me.

  3. March 26, 2020 - 8:22 am | Permalink

    I use the Jesus prayer a lot, particularly in walking and when using Anglican prayer beads, so Bart is tempting. But today, in honor of all of Jesus’s women followers, who were buried in obscurity and denied by male church leaders for a couple of thousand years, I cast my vote for Jo!

    • Claire from Quincy, MA's Gravatar Claire from Quincy, MA
      March 26, 2020 - 9:26 am | Permalink

      I am in the midst of reading Rebecca Solnit’s book of essays “Men Explain Things to Me”. I have to vote for Joanna who was silenced. But no more.

  4. Betsey's Gravatar Betsey
    March 26, 2020 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    Bartimaeus’ story is a story of healing and so many world-wide need physical healing right now.

    I put Bartimaeus on my bracket thinking he was the St. Bart of the Sherlock show. The London teaching hospital is actually St Bartholomew’s Hospital, silly on me 🙂 , but I’m going to stick with the healing aspect.

    All, be well.

  5. Deacon Linda Hale's Gravatar Deacon Linda Hale
    March 26, 2020 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    As a deacon I vote for Joanna. She took action in ways that were needed for Jesus’ ministry. Bartemeus is honored for blind faith, and that is not wrong at all, but Joanna took practical action on Jesus’ behalf.

  6. Jo Ann's Gravatar Jo Ann
    March 26, 2020 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    I was named after a preacher named Joseph. I am often called ‘Joanna’. Setting up a interpersonal showdown, I’m voting for Joanna

  7. March 26, 2020 - 8:35 am | Permalink

    My vote is for Joanna who came to prepare the body of Jesus for burial. In these times, we need everyone who can help the sick and dying.

    • Jack Zamboni's Gravatar Jack Zamboni
      March 26, 2020 - 9:49 am | Permalink

      A moving thought. Thank you.

    • Emily McFarlan Miller's Gravatar Emily McFarlan Miller
      March 26, 2020 - 10:24 am | Permalink

      I hadn’t thought of this. Thank you!

      • Beth Landrum's Gravatar Beth Landrum
        March 26, 2020 - 4:29 pm | Permalink

        Joanna, who stepped outside of her place of privilege to show her love of Jesus

  8. March 26, 2020 - 9:00 am | Permalink

    I wanted to vote for Joanna. Her contributions to the Jesus Movement, to sharing the good news, to bravely doing whatever she can (and more!) set a wonderful example of discipleship.

    But Bartmeus’ cry out to Jesus is one that took me a long time to learn. My transformation from an efficient and organized Joanna to a desperate beggar for mercy has been a long road of leaving safety behind to be closer to Jesus.

    • Barbara Brooks's Gravatar Barbara Brooks
      March 26, 2020 - 11:59 am | Permalink

      “A long road of leaving safety behind to be closer to Jesus” really spoke to me. In a terrible time for me, I finally understood the difference between faith and trust and entered a state that I called “the state of not knowing,” trusting God, finally, to see me through. It felt like stepping off a cliff, entering blindness, but giving up needing to know something I couldn’t know, I think I truly heard Jesus ask, “What is it you want from me?” and I could answer “God’s limitless mercy.”

  9. Karen Sculley's Gravatar Karen Sculley
    March 26, 2020 - 9:01 am | Permalink

    Bartimaeus . . . The Jesus Prayer . . . countless times I have prayed this when anxiety rises up – “Lord Jesus Christ” (breathe in, receive a fresh infilling of His presence, peace, power), “have mercy on me” (breathe out, release everything that weighs down the heart and mind)

  10. March 26, 2020 - 9:04 am | Permalink

    And also, Bartimaeus gained and lost little to follow Jesus. Joanna gave and gave up, and crossed a huge social divide to support Jesus. Go Joanna!

  11. Edmund Pickup's Gravatar Edmund Pickup
    March 26, 2020 - 9:15 am | Permalink

    Bartimaeus had insight (inward sight) when all around him who were blessed with physical sight lacked spiritual sight. Even though he could not see Jesus, he knew who he was. The granting of physical sight was entirely a manifestation of the spiritual reality of his sight. He courageously testified to the reality of Jesus as healer in the face of tremendous opposition, speaking truth to power. He knew his need for God. I once heard the first beatitude (blessed are the poor in spirit) translated as “blessed are those who know their need for God). Bartimaeus epitomizes that blessedness for me, and I will always be grateful for his insight and courage of faith.

    • Carol M Gurioli's Gravatar Carol M Gurioli
      March 26, 2020 - 11:12 am | Permalink

      That insight is very helpful. Thank you.
      And I’m voting for Joanna.

    • Vicar Mollie's Gravatar Vicar Mollie
      March 26, 2020 - 12:49 pm | Permalink

      Good to “hear” your voice, Ed! Speaking wisdom quietly and clearly, as usual. That rendering of the Beatitude is from the New English Bible, I believe. I heard Bishop Frank Allan preach on it years ago, and it always comes to mind when I read that passage, whatever the translation.

      You make a powerful point, my friend, but I am voting for the quiet wisdom and faithful service of Joanna.

  12. Elaine Culver's Gravatar Elaine Culver
    March 26, 2020 - 9:15 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Bartimaeus for reminding us that Jesus asks of us all what we want from him. His faith continues to inspire us and aways will.
    I voted for Joanna because she went the distance in so many ways. May we be inspired by her example.

    • Elaine Culver's Gravatar Elaine Culver
      March 26, 2020 - 9:23 am | Permalink

      Also, maybe Joanna did contribute gold as well as myrrh. Since she supported Jesus’ ministry financially, may we all remember her example during Stewardship Week in our own parishes.

      • Peg S. (aka, No, I'm Not On the Vestry)'s Gravatar Peg S. (aka, No, I'm Not On the Vestry)
        March 26, 2020 - 10:17 am | Permalink

        So right about Joanna’s contributions, which would be good to emulate with a check in the mail right about now as the collection plates gather dust and the pews stand empty.

  13. March 26, 2020 - 9:20 am | Permalink

    I portrayed the character, Bartimaeus in Methodist Actors Seerving the Church (MASC) from desperation to triumph, resonates with my life.

  14. March 26, 2020 - 9:22 am | Permalink

    The Jesus Prayer has been so meaningful to me over the years, especially in times of distress

  15. Pamela Duncan's Gravatar Pamela Duncan
    March 26, 2020 - 9:29 am | Permalink

    While Bartemeus cry of faith to Jesus was profound…Joanna put her life and her family’s future on the line by aiding Jesus so my vote went there.

  16. Jack Zamboni's Gravatar Jack Zamboni
    March 26, 2020 - 9:47 am | Permalink

    A very hard choice today. The Jesus Prayer and, even more, hearing Jesus’ question, “What do you want me to do for you?” adressed to me have been rich gifts to me over the years. OTOH, Joanna’s willingness to leave her privileged social location to follow Jesus speaks a persistent (so far unanswered) call I’ve heard for years. As the latter challenge is more pressing and present, she gets my vote.

  17. Laura Burgess's Gravatar Laura Burgess
    March 26, 2020 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    I love the Godly Play set for Bartimaeus; but Joanna gets my vote this time.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 26, 2020 - 10:04 am | Permalink

      I’ve not seen this! Tell me about it!

      • Ruth Douglas Miller's Gravatar Ruth Douglas Miller
        March 26, 2020 - 10:27 am | Permalink

        I think she means the picture for Bartimaeus today, which is a bit difficult for me: the short figure by the gate is Bartimaeus, the one with arms open is Jesus, and the other 3 are ‘the crowd’? Anyway, two to decide between who have little chance of going forward in the Elate 8. B speaks to the needy, Joanna to the giving. Perhaps today, I should do more giving…

        • Donna's Gravatar Donna
          March 26, 2020 - 11:12 am | Permalink

          That’s not Godly Play is it?

          • Meg Kimble's Gravatar Meg Kimble
            March 26, 2020 - 11:35 am | Permalink

            No, it a lesson from Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.

          • Donna's Gravatar Donna
            March 26, 2020 - 12:05 pm | Permalink

            Thank you. Close but no cigar.

      • Donna's Gravatar Donna
        March 26, 2020 - 11:09 am | Permalink

        Ditto to thast.

  18. Annie Brown's Gravatar Annie Brown
    March 26, 2020 - 10:12 am | Permalink

    I have gBarreat admiration for Joanna, but I feel Bartimaeus in my soul.

  19. Linda Fernandez's Gravatar Linda Fernandez
    March 26, 2020 - 10:24 am | Permalink

    Poor blind Bart. Once again he is rejected. He has a very important place in Jesus narrative, but it seems it’s not enough either in Jesus time or ours.

  20. SharonDianne FosterPattison's Gravatar SharonDianne FosterPattison
    March 26, 2020 - 10:38 am | Permalink

    We women do not get enough praise for what we do behind the scenes! Joanna Gets my vote again for the female movement in the WORLD! We are always working in the background and getting everything done in a peaceful manner!

  21. Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
    March 26, 2020 - 10:42 am | Permalink

    As several people have noted over the last few days, the choices just get harder and harder. I voted for both of these saints in the first round, and I would be pleased to vote for both of them again! (But, of course, I didn’t — one vote per person.) I voted for Joanna for her sacrifice in leaving a life of privilege to become literally a follower of Jesus. If more people of privilege in our age would do that, we could maybe resolve the problems of climate change and inexcusable poverty.

  22. Joyce's Gravatar Joyce
    March 26, 2020 - 10:52 am | Permalink

    Joanna is worthy and deserves my vote. However, Bart gets it today.

  23. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    March 26, 2020 - 11:00 am | Permalink

    I voted for Joanna because of the image of her thumbing her nose at Herod as she rescued John’s head for proper burial. It reminded me of Thomas More’s daughter venturing out onto London Bridge to take her father’s head down off the pike. Nevertheless, a big thank you to Sandra for focussing on prayer. Thank you for reminding us of varieties of prayer and of the way in which prayer is essential to our being. As Clare said, Active life or contemplative life? Yes.

  24. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    March 26, 2020 - 11:00 am | Permalink

    Bartimaeus’s story is one of my favorites of all the stories of healing, probably because of my own impaired vision. Jesus asks different things of people in different circumstances, so of course all of us respond differently, according to who we are and what we have to give. No one is superior or inferior; we are all blessed by God who calls us to follow Jesus.

  25. Nancy Noel's Gravatar Nancy Noel
    March 26, 2020 - 11:10 am | Permalink

    I wanted to vote for Joanna since, as a female emergency physician, I know all too well the difficulty women have in this sexist world [in US alone we’ve had a Black president and a gay candidate made a lot of progress in advancing, but heaven forbid a WOMAN be a considered serious candidate for presidency] but Bartimaeus speaks to my own spirituality of finding praying the Jesus prayer a healing, calming hope [especially as I treat patients in these trying times and risk exposure to the coronavirus]

    • Isabelle Melese-D'Hospital's Gravatar Isabelle Melese-D'Hospital
      March 26, 2020 - 9:39 pm | Permalink

      God bless you for your work and dedication, Dr.Noel!!

  26. Joanne B. Parrott's Gravatar Joanne B. Parrott
    March 26, 2020 - 11:12 am | Permalink

    Story sounds familiar-contributes what she can, does the things that should be done but don’t get done and gets no recognition for it.
    My soldier son Matt calls me Ms Joanna so she gets my vote today.

  27. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    March 26, 2020 - 11:22 am | Permalink

    Oh, the unfairness of the SEC! I love both these deserving saints. Gotta go with Jo.

  28. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    March 26, 2020 - 11:31 am | Permalink

    Another day, another difficult decision. I have voted for each of these in the past rounds, and love both saints. My vote was decided for Joanna today by the intriguing idea that she and Junia might be one and the same. I like the idea too, that Joanna, who contributed financially to Jesus and also took myrrh to the the tomb, is a wise woman bearing gold and myrrh worthy of mention with the Magi.

  29. Sharon's Gravatar Sharon
    March 26, 2020 - 11:33 am | Permalink

    Bartemaeus literally moved from darkness to light. That is a recurrent theme in the New Testament and, I think, often gets overlooked when talking about this story. “What do you want [Jesus] to do for you?” Help me move from darkness to the light of Your glory.

  30. March 26, 2020 - 11:44 am | Permalink

    This was enlightening, we all know the story of Bartemateus, learned something new about Joanna. Did not know she buried the head yJohn the Baptist. She had to have been one strong lady, physically, intellectually & spiritually!0

  31. Jan Curtis's Gravatar Jan Curtis
    March 26, 2020 - 12:12 pm | Permalink

    I have an Episcopalian granddaughter whose second name is Johanna. I love the Episcopalian way of doing titles…”chalice-bearer” “torch-bearer”, and now, here,”myrrh-bearer.” Joanna has my vote. I’m an ELCA Lutheran who worshiped as an Anglican, calling my Vicar “pastor” with his permission, for nearly 10 years in England.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 26, 2020 - 5:33 pm | Permalink

      Don’t forget “theotokos”: God-bearer!

  32. john's Gravatar john
    March 26, 2020 - 12:16 pm | Permalink

    I am in the position of Bartemaeus, needing the healing power of Jesus.

  33. Gene Anderson's Gravatar Gene Anderson
    March 26, 2020 - 12:18 pm | Permalink

    I am puzzled that so many women are winning the choices, especially when they are running against a male. Perhaps next year, it might be wise/helpful to compare women to women and men to men to reflect the gender neutrality that doesn’t appear to be happening very often. If you think I’m exaggerating, just look at the current record.

    • Donna's Gravatar Donna
      March 26, 2020 - 12:34 pm | Permalink

      Again, a man is trying to tell us how/why we are doing things and further more how and why it is wrong. Perhaps the women are “winning” as you say, but just maybe that’s because we wish to vote for that person who just happens to be a woman? What a thought. Women have minds with which to think–all by themselves. That’s one of the main reasons I am an Episcopalian–I am encouraged to use my mind. Please don’t try to tell me why I voted for a particular candidate. By-the-way I voted for Bartimaeus today.

      • March 26, 2020 - 4:58 pm | Permalink

        Actually, Gene has a valid point, and he simply states it. It is not really that controversial. Women in the comments quite often state that they do exactly what Gene says they do. I’ve seen it a number of times, and you have too, most likely.
        And you know what? That’s okay. We all have the right to vote as we wish to. And people like Gene have the perfect right to point it out, as he has politely done. And THAT is why I am an Episcopalian. You make your choices, and then you accept the consequences. And we certainly don’t have to agree.
        As is noted by another reply, there has been an enormous amount of injustice leveled toward women for — well, literally thousands of years — so if someone gives preference to women, maybe that’s a tiny smidgeon of a push toward trying to level things out?
        I would just say that if someone has a preference for pretty much any woman over pretty much any man, that’s their prerogative. Voting here is about preference, after all. But if someone points it out, maybe that’s their prerogative too.

        • Donna's Gravatar Donna
          March 26, 2020 - 5:10 pm | Permalink

          Yes, Sir. So sorry, Sir.

        • March 28, 2020 - 8:23 am | Permalink

          I noticed this too and worried I picked more women just for the fact of their gender. However I believe it is more the nature of the women’s response to God’s call. Many of the women here actively responded to a great need in their communities. That brings very relevant today as many of us noted already. Our bodies and spirits are built for action in a crisis. In this crisis we must stay at home and not share the comfort of handshakes and hugs with our beloved. This is a time for contemplation and prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Soon enough there will be much action needed by all of us.

    • brighter's Gravatar brighter
      March 26, 2020 - 2:28 pm | Permalink

      Men have historically gotten the bulk of the attention in Church history and study. We could have majority women LM advancers for years and still not make things equal.

    • Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
      March 26, 2020 - 4:33 pm | Permalink

      I already pointed out the fallacy of such a theory in the first round by referring to the results.

      If the entire first round was woman-woman and man-man, eventually we would still have man-woman matchups. Besides, sorting the first round by gender would disable the current groupings, i.e. monastics and martyrs, Biblical, mainly modern, and miscellaneous.

      Personally, when I vote, I look at the person’s achievements and saintliness, not their gender.

  34. Rose Mahan's Gravatar Rose Mahan
    March 26, 2020 - 12:27 pm | Permalink

    This will probably be my only response this year. I simply repeat what I said last year. I wish that in 2021 all the choices be male. And in 2022, all be female. Or just the opposite. But that would take the male vs. female issue away for at least one year.

    • Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
      March 26, 2020 - 1:04 pm | Permalink

      Rose Mahan–interesting idea.

    • Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
      March 26, 2020 - 4:34 pm | Permalink

      Like the World Cup? Women’s one year, men’s another?

    • Barbara Miles's Gravatar Barbara Miles
      March 26, 2020 - 10:08 pm | Permalink

      Not a bad idea. Nonetheless, I think the bias is toward more recent saints: because we can have both more confidence in their stories, and draw more lessons for ourselves from them. Just wait until the SEC relents and allows Mr Rogers in. There’s a man who could win. He just needs to get on someone’s calendar.

  35. Ellen's Gravatar Ellen
    March 26, 2020 - 12:34 pm | Permalink

    I want to vote for Joanna, because I can relate to having too much and still wanting to follow Christ. But the call for mercy…. We need a lot of mercy right now. Lord have mercy on us.

  36. Pastor Rick's Gravatar Pastor Rick
    March 26, 2020 - 12:47 pm | Permalink

    It might be that Bartimaeus was indirectly a recipient of the generosity, courage and the searching faith of Joanna that sought out Jesus. At least am willing to think so in order to tip the scale toward her.

  37. Gene Anderson's Gravatar Gene Anderson
    March 26, 2020 - 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Actually, Donna, I voted for Joanna myself. Relax. Not every comment by someone is a “let’s put down women.” It might just be a question based on what appears to be happening and a way to remove that as a possibility.

    • Donna's Gravatar Donna
      March 26, 2020 - 12:51 pm | Permalink

      I’m relaxed. Seems as though others have a “thing” about assigning reasons for the way a vote goes.

  38. Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
    March 26, 2020 - 1:14 pm | Permalink

    After much back-and-forth–voted for Bartimaeus and Junia in the last round, Joanna was ready to perform burial rites for Jesus, a possibly dangerous thing for the wife of a member of Herod’s household –I went with Joanna. It was as brave a thing to do as Bartimaeus calling out to Jesus for help. Plus, one of my favorite Hymnal 1982 hymns is “The First One Ever”; Joanna is mentioned in that hymn as one of “the first ones ever” to know of Jesus’ resurrection.

  39. Leslie Kintner's Gravatar Leslie Kintner
    March 26, 2020 - 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Lent Madness is just what I needed after listening to my governor talk about the pandemic and medical supplies. Thank you, Karen for describing the prayer. I certainly will use it throughout this trying time in the world.

  40. Janene's Gravatar Janene
    March 26, 2020 - 3:21 pm | Permalink

    I love the stories about the women who followed Jesus. Especially, risking a lot to do it.
    I am going to read “The women around Jesus”.

    • Emily McFarlan Miller's Gravatar Emily McFarlan Miller
      March 26, 2020 - 3:40 pm | Permalink

      “Gospel Women” is a fascinating read, too. Thanks to whoever recommended that over on Facebook!

      • Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
        March 26, 2020 - 4:36 pm | Permalink

        I am sad that my local library has disabled the “hold” feature until the libraries are open again. I’ve resorted to making a list of books I want to put on hold. “Gospel Women” is one of them.

        • Emily McFarlan Miller's Gravatar Emily McFarlan Miller
          March 29, 2020 - 4:22 pm | Permalink

          I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

  41. Malcolm+'s Gravatar Malcolm+
    March 26, 2020 - 3:58 pm | Permalink

    I think there may be a typo in the hagiography of Joanna.

    “I read not, that ever any many did give unto Christ so much as one groat;”
    should be
    “ever any MAN did give”

    • Emily McFarlan Miller's Gravatar Emily McFarlan Miller
      March 29, 2020 - 4:23 pm | Permalink

      You are correct — thanks for catching that!

  42. March 26, 2020 - 4:12 pm | Permalink

    I wish I could understand all this concern about women winning versus men and men winning versus women. Perhaps it’s a desire for some perfectly balanced world where 8 men and 8 women would advance to the saintly sixteen, four men and four women to the elate eight, etc. I think people are expecting too much from Lent Madness.

    Frankly, 50 years ago our brackets would have been filled with “white” male saints (since Jesus and his apostles were all considered to be white back then). For me, Lent Madness is a vehicle for learning about the saints and trying to figure out how people are going to vote so I can put together a decent bracket. I work for a Catholic mission organization and have set up an in-house competition, and I can tell you my Catholic friends are dumbfounded that Patrick lost in the first round and have suggested it’s an Anglican conspiracy.

    So relax, and enjoy the game! Is it really so terrible that there are more women than men in the Elate Eight?

    • Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
      March 26, 2020 - 4:44 pm | Permalink

      It was only 10 years ago that LM had 28 men and 4 women.

      • March 26, 2020 - 6:34 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, Tessa. I wasn’t part of it back then. So it’s good news to me how far Lent Madness has progressed.

  43. TJMannion's Gravatar TJMannion
    March 26, 2020 - 4:21 pm | Permalink

    As I said last time, I hope to hear the strength as well as the faith to utter with my dying breath this holiest of prayers of Bartimaeus: “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!” as has been prayed by many people throughout time. I’m sorry to see that he is behind in the voting.

  44. Sara L's Gravatar Sara L
    March 26, 2020 - 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Having learned about the Myrrh-Bearers for the first time this past summer, I have to vote for Joanna. Spent a week amongst the Eastern Orthodox in Ukraine in late July, visiting Myrrh-Bearer churches in Kyiv & Kharkiv. Beautiful, spirit-filled places.

  45. Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
    March 26, 2020 - 4:52 pm | Permalink

    It interests me that modern or fairly modern saints far outnumber Biblical and medieval figures in the Golden Halo winners.

    Two from the Bible: Mary Magdalene and Martha of Bethany.
    One 13th century: Francis of Assisi.
    One 17th century: George Herbert.
    One 18th century: Charles Wesley.
    Two 19th century: Anna Alexander and Florence Nightingale.
    Three 20th century: C.S. Lewis, Frances Perkins, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

    And I suspect the majority of bracket completers have Harriet Tubman going all the way to the Golden Halo, given our (small) sample at St. Stephen’s Santa Clarita in which 5 of 6 people who posted their picks on the wall have Harriet as the eventual winner. Another 19th-century saint.

    Bias against the historical figures? Or a strong streak of skepticism, trusting in more recently recorded achievements and sayings rather than “legend has it that…”?

    • March 26, 2020 - 5:07 pm | Permalink

      You have a point. I can imagine that
      1. some folks don’t much care what time the saint was from, and
      2. some tend to dismiss earlier saints because of the real probability that the stories about them were invented or really pumped up. However, I seriously doubt that
      3. there are many who only care about the first- or second- or third-century saints, and dismiss all the later ones. If there are some, they most likely are a small number.
      That would just lead to a subtle bias in favor of the modern personalities.

  46. March 26, 2020 - 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Oh I am SO sorry Bartimaeus (great name–three vowels in a row) is losing. To me he personifies absolute submission, simplicity and openness to Jesus. I love uppity Joanna burying John’s head on Herod’s property (wonder if she considered putting it in his bed?) But I’d like to see Bartimaeus and his journey from darkness to light win.

  47. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    March 26, 2020 - 5:05 pm | Permalink

    I was going to vote for Bartimaeus because of how his cry resonates in me and his example of faith and persistence. Ironically he, a blind man, is the one who recognizes Jesus for who He is while the sighted, even including the Disciples, keep getting it wrong.

    But as I’ve reflected over the course of the day the importance of Joanna’s witness, and especially her inclusion In Jesus’s inner circle, have inclined me more and more to vote for her instead; and that is what I am going to do.

  48. Linda M.'s Gravatar Linda M.
    March 26, 2020 - 7:31 pm | Permalink

    I had to vote for Bartimaeus. Reason 1: my eyes are bad; everything that can go wrong with them has. I have gone to an ophthalmologist for 30+ years. Reason 2: It took me until I was 50 in order to become like Bartimaeus – Oh that we may be as bold as Bartimaeus, to stand up, be loud, not give up, and ask for what we want. I was going to vote for Joanna until I read Sandra’s last sentence. God’s Peace to all!

  49. Susan McFeatters's Gravatar Susan McFeatters
    March 26, 2020 - 7:54 pm | Permalink

    I was really torn over this one so decided to go with whom I thought would be the underdog. Imagine my surprise when I saw Joanna significantly ahead of Bartimaeus.

  50. Gregory of Ravenna's Gravatar Gregory of Ravenna
    March 26, 2020 - 8:26 pm | Permalink

    I feel strongly that a vote for Joanna is one way to push back against the historical opposition to woman as leaders in the Christian church. Women like Joanna give lie to the prejudice that only men were ft for ministry and positions of responsibility in the church – we see (if we have eyes to see) that woman were pillars of the church from the vey beginning.
    This takes nothing away from good Bartimaeus – we’ve had a day of contemplating two wonderful saintly lives.

  51. Gregory of Ravenna's Gravatar Gregory of Ravenna
    March 26, 2020 - 8:29 pm | Permalink

    Too bad Thomas ‘the protestant-burner’ More wasn’t matched with a female saint in the first bracket; maybe he wouldn’t have got out of the gate…

  52. Chris's Gravatar Chris
    March 26, 2020 - 11:48 pm | Permalink

    For me, Joanna represents a more historical act of faith. What she did was courageous, noble, and downright dangerous. I admire her greatly and voted for her first round. However, Bartimaemus’ relationship with Jesus seems more intensely personal somehow. He knew in his heart he was in the presence of holiness, and he cried out for God’s light. He gets my vote today. BTW, how interesting is it that many witnesses didn’t even recognize that Bart was the same beggar they knew from before. Hm. Could be another …? Clueless.

  53. Myrrh's Gravatar Myrrh
    March 27, 2020 - 12:33 am | Permalink

    Having choreographed mime and dance for the story of Bartimaeus over a few liturgical cycles, but also choreographed a liturgical dance for the Easter story of the women going to the tomb I am pulled in each direction. When you choreograph and dance a story you embody it along with other participants. In the end, with my nickname of Myrrh, I had to go with Joanna.

  54. Carol's Gravatar Carol
    March 27, 2020 - 5:45 am | Permalink

    Joanna has my vote today!

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