Lent Madness Final: The Battle for the Golden Halo

It’s all come down to this. Julian of Norwich vs. George Herbert. A saintly heavyweight vs. a holy cinderella. 14th century English mystic vs. 17th century English priest and poet. Come to think of it, this match could take place on the hallowed grass of the All England Club. But it doesn’t. It takes place right here, right now.

And the outcome is up to you. No pressure though — it’s not like the entire world is watching. Just most of it. At stake? The Golden Halo and the opportunity to legitimately claim the title “Holier Than Thou.”

To get to the championship of Lent Madness, Julian vanquished Absalom Jones, Benedict, Peter, and Francis. George battled past Aidan, Joseph, John Chrysostom, and Theresa of Avila. This last contest was particularly fierce with partisans cropping up on both sides. Leading the charge for Herbert was one Scott Gunn, priest of Rhode Island, blogger at Seven Whole Days, and the Lee Atwater of Lent Madness. Theresa’s boosters included Laura Toepfer, priest/blogger at The Infusion. We’ll see just how nasty the championship gets.

At this point, those who have followed Lent Madness from Round One are familiar with these two saints. I see no need to repeat their histories. That’s why God in vented Google. But, for the sake of prayerful discernment, I’ll include their respective collects:

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.

George Herbert: Our God and King, who called your servant George Herbert from the pursuit of worldly honors to be a pastor of souls, a poet, and a priest in your temple: Give us grace, we pray, joyfully to perform the tasks you give us to do, knowing that nothing is menial or common that is done for your sake; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

And now I bid you to VOTE! The polls will remain open through early evening on Palm Sunday.

12 Comments on “Lent Madness Final: The Battle for the Golden Halo”

  1. Scott Gunn says:

    I like “Julian” (whose real name is unknown, by the way), but Herbert has given us some of the finest poetry in the English language and a nifty book on the priestly life. Tough call, but I’m sticking with GH all the way to the end.

  2. barbara says:

    Me, too, Scott. I know from Twitter you were the first to vote (no surprise, that!). The stats are now Julian 48% vs. George 52%. This is going to take another full court press, as Tim said to me on Facebook. I am much taken with Julian’s profound devotion, faith, gracious hospitality, and wisdom. Her visions are the stuff of nightmares, as arresting and repulsive as the crucifixion sculpture you posted (I think it was you) of Christ in Agony. Yet, I believe, they are all too real in the most important sense. My admiration for her (and fondness for my icon of Julian with her cat) is not enough to turn me away from the George Herbert path.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Ouch! This vote hurt! We can only trust that all shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well no matter what the outcome.

  4. Bob Chapman says:

    The Five Mystical Songs of Ralph Vaughn Williams bid me welcome. And to vote for George Herbert.

  5. barbara says:

    Music hath charms…

  6. Bob Chapman says:

    And bikers can be beasts.

  7. revbranwen says:

    Huh? I have to agree, especially when they roar past my house while I’m listening to great cathedral anthems, hymns and Anglican chant. Too much cultural dissonance. I continue to lobby for George Herbert.

  8. Bob Chapman says:

    I’ve just had this hideous thought. (Or maybe that Hideous Strength?)

    If the first shall be last and the last shall be first, where does that put this contest? Who ever wins here is actually the person in last place.

  9. Bob Chapman says:

    @revbranwen. About your “huh.”

    From my self-description on my blog and website (and Twitter and Facebook and whatever else):

    “A technical communicator with a Honda VTX 1800S. Known occasionally to do some news stringer work. Known frequently to have some opinions. Living by the banks of Possession Sound on the Salish Sea.”

  10. revbranwen says:

    Bob, Thanks for the insight. Always wanted an Indian, but I digress. and further… always admired the Martin Franzmann hymn you quoted on your page. perhaps your hideous thought is not at all — my guess is both Julian and George would not mind at all being “last.”

  11. BooCat says:

    It was a tough decision. I love the writer of hymns, but in the end the cat lady is a kindred spirit.

  12. Scott Gunn says:

    Wow. That was a close one. I actually did not think George had it in him.

    Thanks, Tim, for this whole thing. Really. It was a fun way to learn a bit more about saints — how often do we get people cheering for people on our kalendar?

    Outstanding Lentertainment.

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