Just as I suspected, Dorothy Day edged out Bishop Demby — she advances to the Sweet Sixteen, oops! make that the “Saintly Sixteen” where later on she’ll be taking on Benedict of Nursia. This next part gets tough — we may have to vote against someone we voted for before, oh fickle finger of Lent Maddening fate! The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat! Ah, yes…
So today we start the, as noted malapropist Yogi Berra once said, “deja vu all over again” phase of Lent Madness. The original 32 are now down to 16 as we march forward to the ultimate prize of the Golden Halo. Since I’ve already shared biographies (scroll down to my previous postings), as has of course the Supreme Executive Committee (“SEC”) of Lent Madness, I won’t be giving any more biographical info (or maybe I will, who knows!) but will try to focus more on my “Musings” in a desperate effort to convince you to vote the way I do. And if you don’t like the way I’m voting, start your own blog! It’s actually a lot easier than I first thought — especially with the capable teaching of our senior warden and communications director, Robin Lawrie. There, I’ve just sent you back to her blog. Isn’t that easy!
But I digress…
Today’s first bracket in the Saintly 16 round pits two modern day martyrs against each other. Not Mawrters. That’s what people who went to my college call ourselves. Martyrs. Jonathan Myrick Daniels and Janani Luwum (there, I’ve finally learned how to spell it!) — the Episcopal Divinity School seminarian who laid down his life during the civil rights struggle in Alabama and the Ugandan bishop who laid down his life during the tyrannical regime of Idi Amin.
I sometimes wonder what I would do if called to pay the ultimate price for my faith. It’s a question that sort of hangs there — I know the answer I hope I would give and the all-to-human part of me also knows that another answer might come forth. I pray not to be put to the test. But I imagine both Jonathan and Janani prayed the same thing during their lifetimes, yet when the moment arose there was no turning back.
Fortunately the vast majority of us probably won’t ever have to make a choice like this, and because that possibility, the possibility of being asked to lay down our life for our faith in Jesus Christ, seems so remote we maybe consign martyrs to an equally remote part of our spiritual consciousness. And that’s too bad. Because the original Greek word, “martyrion,” actually means “witness.” And that is something we can do every day of our lives — be witnesses of our faith. Show to the world in thought, word, and deed that we believe in and follow the Risen Christ and that has made a difference in our lives. That old adage comes to mind — if I were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict me?
Today I am sticking with my original vote; I’m casting my ballot for Jonathan Daniels. He is part of a very real recent history, one that touched my life. In his understanding of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ he took action and was part of changing for the better the whole direction of this country.
To vote, go here. Remember to scroll to the end of the page, but do pause and read the great commentary on the Lent Madness page.