I stood in the stairwell at Richmond Hall waiting at the door for the next "move." I put Brother Weber's letter into my back pocket. I moved further down the stairs. I didn't want the fellows around me see a grown man cry.
Brother Weber is a young man from Elmira, Ontario. He wrote me recently.
What in the world does he have in common with Rosaria Butterfield? (I've been reading her books lately.)
Not much, at first glance.
Weber grew up in a close-knit conservative culture much like my own.
Rosaria Butterfield was a lesbian activist and a tenured professor of literature at a major university.
That is, until she met the same Person Brother Weber must have met.
He's conservative Mennonite as I am. She's now Reformed Presbyterian. The theological differences are not insignificant.
So what does Brother Weber have in common with Rosaria Butterfield?
Brother Weber shared with me in his letter the words of a song he's come to love, "How Deep the Father's Love," by Stuart Townsend. Standing there in that stairwell, letter in hand, the words and melody of that song washed over me and took my heart:
How deep the Father's love for us! How vast beyond all measure!
That He should give His only Son, to make a wretch His treasure!
How great the pain of searing loss! The Father turns His face away.
As wounds which mar the Chosen One, bring many sons to glory.
I will not boast in anything; no gifts, no power, no wisdom.
But I will boast in Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give and answer.
But this I know with all my heart; His wounds have paid my ransom!
And I realized that this young coming-of-age brother loved the same Jesus that Rosaria Butterfield found in the "train wreck" of her conversion.
Strange, how this self-described "meek and lowly" Jesus has captured the lives and loves of so many millions of wildly disparate people around the world in the last 2,000 years.
It must be the "Visceral living presence of God," a Jesus who "Seemed present and alive," that Mrs. Butterfield wrote about in The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert.
It must be the "Peace and tranquility we feel when we let His love and plan of salvation be enough to carry us through each day," that brother Weber wrote about in his letter to me.
All I know is that the Jesus of Brother Weber and Rosaria Butterfield has captured my heart too, and I never want to let Him go, and I know HE will never let me go!
So let us gather around the cross together and lift our eyes to the Savior. This is the location Brother Weber and Rosaria Butterfield have in common, as do all of us who are In Jesus Christ.
And by the way, why don't you look up Brother Weber's beloved song and let its message break your heart again.
And while you're at it, get a hold of Rosaria's books, The Secret Thoughts of An Unlikely Convert and Openness Unhindered. Her books can help us see ourselves. And they can help us offer the transforming grace of Jesus to our fellow sinners.
Ken Miller 08464-082
Federal Correctional Complex
P.O. Box 1000
Petersburg, VA 23804