As I posted here, I had to travel to Austin, Texas last week to help with the memorial service for my 32 year old nephew, Christopher Davis, who died after being struck by a car while riding his bicycle.
In the middle of a lot of sad, poignant moments, one stuck with me. Just hours before he died, Christopher told his first cousin (my niece who is about Christopher's age) that when the time came for him to get married, he would want me as his uncle and a pastor to perform the ceremony. And then four days later, there I was doing his funeral.
So I re-told that anecdote in my eulogy and summarized it by saying, "that sucks." Not language I'd usually use on a Sunday morning, but it certainly fit the mood as well as the gathering. It gave expression to the feeling of we-shouldn't-be-here-doing-this that so many of us had.
The memorial service didn't try to answer the question of why chaotic things happen in life. Yet in acknowledging pain and loss, I believe the service opened the door for Jesus' words to become real in the lives of those gathered there in Austin: blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.