We are blessed in having a small group that has been together from the beginning of the Ridge. I remember meeting with Kevin and his encouragement to start a group. When I expressed my fear of inviting people and having no one come, Kevin urged me to give it a try and we prayed together for success. I extended the invitations, prepared a light supper and prayed that we would not have to eat it by ourselves. To my relief everyone showed up and with just a few changes we have been meeting for almost 20 years.
We have been through many life experiences together, both those filled with sorrow and others with joy. I am so thankful for the lessons I have learned from these people, the support I have been given by them, the endless prayers that have been lifted, the laughter we have shared, the tears we have shed. Words cannot adequately express the love I have for these brothers and sisters in Christ.
One of our meetings was held in the Ridge as it was being constructed. As we stood in the empty shell of the church, we prayed for its mission, for its impact on our community, for it attraction of seekers, for its commitment to Biblical teaching, for its outreach and service, for all the staff. The event was a moving experience in the life of our group. Standing on the concrete, surrounded by nothing but steel beams and rafters, we experienced a strong sense of the presence of God. After I got home was led to write a poem:
When we come to this place hear our praises
as we raise them to you on high,
all-wise, and all-loving Father
of heaven ,earth, sea, and sky.
This place overflows with mercy and grace,
a deep sense of your presence, O LORD.
Here we are wrapped in your loving embrace,
In this place we can be restored.
When we come to this place heavy-hearted
filled with sorrow for having done wrong,
we trust you, O LORD, to forgive us
and grant us the strength to go on.
With confusion and misapprehension
we come to this place filled with strife.
You listen and guide us to find our way back,
and gift us your plan for our life.
When we come to this place feeling lonely,
in need of acceptance and love,
we are blessed with your welcoming spirit,
through hearts which are warmed from above.
When seekers appear in this place, O LORD,
we pray they find all they pursue,
and through teaching and godly examples,
they will live in commitment to you.
In this place we seek wisdom and guidance
to help us know how to serve best,
to use talents and gifts you have given,
so through us the world might be blessed.