An obituary notice headline named a prominent attorney who had died, and declared “FuneralArrangements Pending.” The article shared many of the accomplishments of this apparently brilliant attorney. It noted his extensive educational background, decorated military service, his community service, membership in numerous service organizations, and listed his surviving family members. The obituary closed by informing friends where to direct memorial contributions. It was truly a fitting tribute to a prominent community leader.
There was only one thing wrong. He was not dead. Somehow, some way, the newspaper had received erroneous information. Now, of course, this proved to be very embarrassing for the paper and very painful for family members, even though I understand there was a retraction printed the following day. But as I have considered this over the past several weeks while thinking about this sermon, two aspects of the story immediately came to mind.
(1) The statement of Mark Twain that the news of his death was greatly exaggerated, and
(2) The reality and truth of at least part of that obituary notice.
In reality, all of our funeral arrangements “are pending.” Today’s Biblical passage deals with this subject in the life of Jesus as we continue our Summer Sermon Series, ”Follow me,” and look at Jesus’ words, “I am the Resurrection and the Life.”