Winchester is on the western end of the South Downs Way. It is a beautiful and truly iconic city, known by many as the ancient capital of England, but perhaps by not as many, as the site of one of the earliest stone churches’, Old Minster, built in the 7th century. To say it has a rich history and great spiritual heritage, has to be quite an understatement! At the heart of the city sits the magnificent cathedral on the same former site as this first church.
I have heard it spoken recently, that there is something God wants to do in the future that has been hidden in the past. Could our destiny be hidden in our history? I am deeply struck by the significance of these words and the inheritance and spiritual story we have in this beautiful land. How exciting to initiate this end of the walk from such a site of historic worship. Surely this is no coincidence, but an invitation, from God, for us to draw deeply upon our spiritual heritage, crying out for Him to increase our faith and awaken, stir and energise hearts and the heart of the body again. Prayerfully sowing kingdom seeds and seeing living water from ancient and innermost wells drawn up and flowing out through revived lives and the spiritual awakening of the land.
The South Downs Way is 99 miles long, which reminds me of the parable of the lost sheep in Luke 15. In verse 4 Jesus says: – ‘What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the pasture and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?’. The South Downs has historically and still very much is a landscape sculpted by grazing sheep. I feel this verse couldn’t be more apt in describing Gods heart for people in this land. I believe part of this amazing journey will be about reaching the lost sheep He has been pursuing and seeing the prodigals come home. Declaring from the high places to the east, the west, the north and the south His invitation of new and abundant life.
Alongside this we are just so excited to see what can happen when young and old rally together, from all different streams of the church, with a common purpose and desire to see Gods kingdom come in our land, and the wonderful blessing that God bestows when we are united. We are believing that God will bring a fresh wave of hope in our midst. Turning hearts of parents to their children, and hearts of children to their parents. Seeing families and individual lives transformed by physical, emotional and spiritual healing. Seeing walls of division fall and cultural transformation permeating our society. That this area will be a hotbed of testimonies of God’s goodness and transforming love.