Zechariah 9: 9 -12
Psalm 145: 8-15
Romans 7: 15 – 25a
Matthew 11: 16 – 19, 25 – 30
When I was in seminary, one of my professors frequently spoke of alarms bells. He’d be in the middle of his lecture, or answering a question, or making a comment about something, when he would stop and announce: alarm bells should be going off in your head right now! It took a while, but we soon realized that this was his code for us to make connections between what he had just said and something we might have heard or known from a different situation.
Well, if it were Professor Koester, and not Brother James standing before you today, I’d be saying alarm bells should be going off in your head right now! In fact, really loud alarms should be ringing for you this morning. It’s not that you are in a deep sleep right now and need to wake up (although perhaps that’s true!). Instead you should be thinking, this all sounds vaguely familiar. Where have I heard this before?
Romans 7:15-25a; Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
A favorite story of mine about the founder of our Society, Richard Meux Benson, is from his childhood. His biographer M. V. Woodgate writes: “When he was a little boy, he used regularly to read a text every night in a little testament his mother had given him, and one night he was found by his nurse lying on the floor in his night clothes, with the little book clasped in his hand. His nurse and the governess both told him to get into bed, but he lay silently there, and at last they brought up his father, who called him to sit on his knee and tell him what was the matter. The little boy pointed to his text for the night and his father read, ‘Thou, therefore, endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ’ (2 Timothy 2:3). Then he said, ‘The floor is hard, so I must sleep on it.’ ‘Yes, Richard,’ said his father, ‘but there is one thing harder which the soldier has to learn, and that is obedience; so you go and get into bed.’ Young Richard Benson had a fascination with soldiers and had inherited a love for Jesus from his mother, both of which would last throughout his entire life.