Lent Madness: Absalom Jones vs. Julian of Norwich

This is one of the more intriguing first round matches. No idea how this will turn out. In recent action, Stephen edged Ambrose by a single vote. Check out the updated tournament bracket here: Lent Madness 2010

Absalom Jones (1746-1818) was an abolitionist and the first African-American ordained priest in the Episcopal Church. Born into slavery in Delaware, he was sold to a store owner in Philadelphia when he was 16. He was able to purchase his freedom by the time he was 39-years-old. He became a lay minister and one of the first African-Americans licensed to preach in the Methodist Church.

Weary of having to sit in slave galleries at church, he started the Free African Society as a non-denominational abolitionist group. The group started holding religious services in 1791 and, after petitioning to become an Episcopal parish, it was renamed St. Thomas African Episcopal Church in 1794. Jones was ordained deacon in 1795 and priest in 1804. He was a renowned preacher and an influential figure in the anti-slavery movement.

A Collect for Absalom Jones: Set  us free, heavenly Father, from every bond of prejudice and fear; that, honoring the steadfast courage of your servant Absalom Jones, we may show forth in our lives the reconciling love and true freedom of the children of God, which you have given us in your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Julian of Norwich (1342-1416) was a beloved English mystic who had a number of intense visions of Jesus when she was 30. Believing she was on her deathbed, Julian recorded her visions. Her first writings simply recorded these visions; twenty years later she reflected upon them theologically.

Little is known about Julian outside of her writings. She was evidently an anchoress (a hermit living in a cell attached to a church) who spent her time in contemplative prayer. She became well-known throughout England as a spiritual authority. Julian’s theology was unique in three aspects: her view of sin, her belief that God is all love and no wrath, and her view of Christ as mother. Perhaps her best known quote, reflecting her optimistic outlook in the goodness of God is “All shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”

A Collect for Julian of Norwich: Lord God, in your compassion you granted to the Lady Julian many revelations of your nurturing and sustaining love: Move our hearts, like hers, to seek you above all things, for in giving us yourself you give us all; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


One Comment on “Lent Madness: Absalom Jones vs. Julian of Norwich”

  1. C. Cooper says:

    Hard to go against Absalom, but here goes: Julian you’ve got my vote!


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