Love’s Everlasting Arms
Staff and campers witness, quickly and decisively, that no challenge is
too great for God.
One of the first lessons students in a Christian Science Sunday School learn is that God is always with them, protecting them, no matter what seems to be happening around them. Last summer, a seasonal staff member at the A/U Ranches, Astrid – as well as campers and fellow staff – saw proof of this truth when she and her horse fell into a ravine.
Astrid was the Round-Up corral assistant program head helping in the Sky Valley corral on the final day of a three-day horse pack trip. “My horse was a bit antsy to get back and lost her footing,” she says. As they slipped off the trail, Astrid hit some rocks on the way down and stopped, but her horse fell to the bottom and couldn’t get up.
Her fellow staff members responded immediately. Some headed into the ravine to check on the horse while others made sure Astrid – and the campers – were okay. “I had a few scrapes, but was otherwise fine,” she says.
Once back on the trail, Astrid walked to the road with the campers and a CIT while another counselor returned to help in the ravine. “It took me a few moments to collect myself, and then I started to check up on the campers,” Astrid says.
Grace, one of the campers, was praying and singing hymns with the group, “which brought a real sense of peace to everyone,” she says. Grace noted that Astrid “was more focused on how we were doing than how she was doing.”
“I felt that it was important to metaphysically address the situation with the campers,” Astrid says. “The idea of ‘everlasting arms of Love’ [Hymn 53] was shared. It helped to reaffirm that we and the horse were always in God’s arms. I focused on the idea of love – loving my horse, loving the campers and loving my fellow staff. I didn’t want to be angry at my horse. I wanted to love her.”
Down in the ravine, staff members Andrew and Kenny were praying with the horse. “As I was going through possible ways to help the horse,” Andrew says, “something that broke the mesmerism of the situation was Kenny’s shirt, which had the logo, ‘Face Any Challenge Anywhere.’ Christian Science was able to face any challenge anywhere! The idea that came to me was that the wholeness of Christian Science and its practice cannot be diluted by any material element or challenge.”
Andrew realized that it wasn’t wise for them to attempt to move the horse. “As we were metaphysically sharing ideas with each other and the horse, she eventually got up and climbed out of the ravine and back onto the trail toward the patrol,” he recalls. “If we had human-willed that horse, things could have gotten worse. It was a divine direction, an angel – God’s thoughts – that guided the horse up the ravine and back to the trail.”
The campers, who were singing hymns, heard Andrew call “Watch out!” Grace says. “We saw the horse galloping towards us. Everyone kind of breathed heavily and was like, ‘Wow. God’s got it under control.’ It showed me how quickly Christian Science can work in a dramatic setting.”
Rita, the Christian Science practitioner at Sky Valley Ranch whom Astrid visited when she returned from the trip, had earlier prayed for the protection of everyone involved in the trip – all of God’s expressions, including the horses. She had shared with the campers the biblical concept of “being knit together in love” from Colossians.
“When I crochet, there is only one thread used, which on its own does not seem very strong,” Rita recalls telling the campers. “When it is woven into a garment, however, there is immense strength in the weave.” She explained that all the campers were woven, or “knit” together with Christian Science. “That Christ comforter made us all strong together. It gave us the ability to lean on one another, to expect good from one other. Prayer was our common bond of power.”
Rita reminded Astrid, who was still feeling fearful about “what could have happened,” of these truths. “God not only never left her, but was also completely present in that moment,” Rita says. “The Christ that knit all of us together had been her protection. All of us in the entire camp had been woven in love for the strength of good.”
Later, Astrid realized just how protected both she and her horse were. “I had hit some rocks, but I never experienced any pain after the impact,” she says. “The horse walked out of the ravine with only some scratches. We both were protected by God.”
Program: A/U Ranches summer Youth Camp staff member
School year: Freshman at the University of Denver
Interests: Climbing, horseback riding, hiking, reading
About the A/U Ranches
The A/U Ranches, located in Buena Vista, Colorado, are a cornerstone of our programming. The supportive and inspiring atmosphere cultivates confidence and develops moral courage for Christian Science youth, adults and families. Activities are offered year-round, including a community outreach program, 100 Elk Outdoor Center, which serves those of all faiths and economic diversity.
Youth Camp at the A/U Ranches
Our experiences change lives. At the A/U Ranches you’ll find a Christian Science atmosphere with staff dedicated to helping you see the role God plays in your life. Each program and activity is designed to help you break through limitations, reach your goals, and see God in action.