The Supremacy of Christ Over All Things image

The Supremacy of Christ Over All Things

At nearly 1,000 feet tall, Win Green is the highest point on the ridge of hills that runs between the counties of Dorset and Wiltshire along Cranborne Chase. This is what is known historically as Wessex, or as the tourist guides put it, “Hardy’s Wessex.”

In Hardy’s most famous story, Tess was raped by Alec d’Urbeville in Cranborne Chase – then a notoriously lonely and lawless place. 
Just 45 minutes drive from my home, Win Green is a magnificent location, with wonderful panoramic views. To the south west are the Purbeck Hills and to the south east the Isle of Wight. To the west lies the ancient town of Shaftesbury, and Bath and Bristol are not far off. Glastonbury Tor lies to the north west. In all of southern England there can hardly be a more glorious spot, so redolent of history, and so steeped in legend. An ancient ox-drove winds around the hill and flocks of rooks and pigeon wheel against the vast sky as buzzards and falcons ride the thermals. It is easy to imagine a character from a Hardy novel trailing up the hill, driving a herd of cattle to market in Salisbury.
And it is easy to imagine witches.
At the top of Win Green is a close packed circle of beech trees. To walk in amongst them is like standing in a green cathedral. The smooth barked trunks shoot into the sky and the branches whistle in the wind. It feels like a place of worship. It feels magical. And indeed, there is evidence of worship – wreaths tied to the trees, and tokens of memory.
At the other end of Cranborne Chase is Knowlton Church – another site to send shivers up the spine. A now ruined 14th century church stands inside a henge. This is an earthen bank constructed before 2,500 BC by our Neolithic ancestors. That now ruined church, which itself seems so ancient, was built at as great a distance of time from the present as the henge was built before God called Abraham our of Ur.
That is mind boggling.
4,500 years ago the henge was built, hewn by primitive humans using only their hands to shift tons of rock and mud. 700 years later God called Abraham. It was another 800 years before Solomon built his temple, and 1,000 more before the Colosseum was constructed. And 700 years ago the Normans threw up Knowlton Church.
It is hardly surprising that Knowlton is a magnet for those of a spiritual bent. The echoes of history and millennia of worship pulse around the place.
Living in a part of the world so rich in this kind of heritage it is easy to sense spiritual forces at work. From the kitsch witchcraft mecca of Glastonbury, via Stonehenge, to the centres of ‘white magic’ in the New Forest, I live in an area born in legend and wreathed in magic. And this can freak some Christians out.
But not me.
I love Knowlton Church – I find it magical! And I love the spinney at the top of Win Green. I love the sense of history, just as I love the sweeping views. I love the sense of the countless feet – Norman and Saxon and Roman and Briton – that have trod this ground. And I believe every square inch of that ground belongs to Jesus!
I’m not freaked out by places where Wiccans might gather because I know that “greater is he that is in me than he who is in the world.” I’m not afraid that I am going to get somehow infected or afflicted by demonic powers by standing in such a place because I know that I am a temple of the Spirit of the living God.
Win Green in mine. Knowlton is mine. Stonehenge is mine. Glastonbory Tor is mine. And so is Salem, and the Pyramids and Machu Picchu because in the end it is all Christ’s.

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