Malachi 1:14-2:2,8-10; Psalm 131:1-3; I Thessalonians 2:7-9,13; Matthew 23:1-12
In the spring of 1843, a renowned British engineer by the name of Isambard Kingdom Brunel took a rare break from work to entertain his children with a magic trick. Unfortunately, things went awry when he accidentally swallowed a gold coin he had hidden under his tongue. Over the following days, Brunel and friends, family, colleagues, and doctors tried various remedies to dislodge the coin, including vigorous back-slapping and gravity-defying shaking, but none succeeded.
Seeking an engineered solution, Brunel devised a contraption that allowed him to hang upside down and swing in wide arcs, hoping that motion and gravity together might force the coin loose. But this, too, proved unsuccessful.
Finally, after enduring more than six weeks of this predicament, Brunel reluctantly underwent a risky and unpleasant tracheotomy. Without anesthesia (as it was not yet available in Britain), the doctor made an incision in Brunel’s throat and attempted to extract the coin with long forceps. However, Brunel’s violent coughing forced the doctor…