“I’m so glad you got your son.
I’m so glad you got your son.”
That’s what Isabel Andrade told
as Ganem’s son David
escaped the Mt. Carmel complex
in Waco, TX in 1993.
When I watched Balenda Ganem tell that story
and then watched David Koresh on video
with Isabel’s daughter and toddler granddaughter
I wondered, “Where was God in this?”
As we hear again the story of Jesus’ Passion,
even Jesus wonders where God is.
God who has promised to never leave God’s people
is questioned, is doubted, has aspersions cast.
“My God, my God,
why have you forsaken me?”
In both these moments:
Andrade’s grace for Ganem
and Jesus’ crying out with a loud voice
and breathing his last –
God is present.
God-made-flesh in Jesus,
joins us in our humanity so much
that he joins us in death.
While Jesus is feeling abandoned
God stands in solidarity with those
who die senseless deaths.
While Isabel Andrade mourned
the impending death of her daughter and granddaughter
God was with her
knowing the pain of losing a child.
God wasn’t in David Koresh’s
all that he had going on.
I don’t think God was in the tactical response
that sorted into good guys and bad guys
and cared more about exacting revenge and justice
than saving as many lives as possible.
God was there in the grief.
In the tears and loss,
in the sorrow of unnecessary death,
death caused by human brokenness,
Isabel Andrade wasn’t looking
for any big picture, cosmic significance of Good.
Nevertheless she spoke
what good news there was.
Even in senseless death,
some life was spared.
Let the same mind be in us that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death–
even death on a cross.
Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. Amen.