25th – 28th March 2010
Having reached St Albans 3 weeks before in February it was as if my head had remained there ever since. Passing through Hindhead and Maidenhead to get there seem to culminate in St Albans, a place that accosted the mind with an onslaught of torturous anxiety and doubt. We were up against the worship of the mind and it’s rationalist rulership that treats all Godward heads like a football. This Masonary foothold sort to headbutt us while the walk waited in St Albans . I arrived there to pick up walking again with acute tooth pain and a head cold that would have kept any rational mind tucked up in bed! My team consisted of Sarah Holloway from Wheathampstead, a St Albans gatekeeper, and 3 from S Wales;Bridgend, Adrian & Jacquie Dykstra and Liz Scott-Dawkins. All three had strong histories with Zimbabwe, a land which embodies the issues of English empire. ‘Shumba’ is the Shona (Zim) word for Lion and has been a ‘tongue’ word that I have yelled on every walk over and over, unaware of the meaning until it was researched . Jesus’ preference for referring to Himself in this way calls to the heart of ‘control’ and so it was a huge sign to have 3 Zimbabweans walking. Every morning we take time to engage with Jesus’ light and easy yoke and be refilled with the joy of heaven. This is essential as our ‘oneness’ with Him is our prayer….the prayer of creation and the reality of heaven coming to earth through us; Two becoming one.
Our first port of call on the way to Romford was the ‘Eleanor Cross’ at Walthams Cross. This is no.2 of 12 to be ‘bagged’ for Jesus between Lincoln and London, and declared as place of Intimacy with Him. All crosses belong to Him and any set up in the name of war or religion are to be taken back.
Carrying on, we walked right up to Jane Almond’s front door in Romford in time for dinner. Jane has faithfully stewarded the land in her locality through walking and calling into place the life words that belong to Essex. It is wonderful to be escorted by those who stand in the land. As we headed out of Romford and towards the Dartford tunnel I had a growing awareness that we would soon cross over into Kent where some of my hardest walking has been. As we prepared to cross the Thames estuary I was suddenly sensing a heavenly power surge and that angels were pouring in from other places. We were being met by those who have been waiting for a long time to cross over. I have only felt this twice, once walking into Birmingham and once crossing the river Dee towards the Welsh/English border. I could feel the buzz of angels flying in ‘V’ formation overhead and all I could see were massive solid steel lock gates opening before us, this was an unexpected border crossing through a tight place and locked gates were opening. The cold in my head and throat became tight and worsened as we crossed over but the exhilaration was beyond all that, something huge was shifting, a way through into Kent and to the nations. After that, all resistance fell back and made way for us, as did my illness clear from that point on. It was a joy to experience ‘Kent the garden’ and bless the land, a welcome mat, not a doormat with it’s right to set conditions and boundaries.
Heading towards Sussex was a black cloud on the horizon taking us into a deluge which felt dark and ways through became complicated and water logged. Walking completely soaked for an hour and finding our way out of a dark valley was a struggle and familiar…. There are times when we walk through an invisible boundary in the middle of nowhere but it is like penetrating a jurisdiction of control, as if we crawl to get under the lid of it… to mess up it’s fixed position and move it’s points of reference. These invisible walls are always unnerving because it unseen and sends one’s inner compass spinning!
I was relieved to reach the final leg to Bexhill on the coast. As we crossed the very field of the 1066 battleground, Adrian fell and twisted his right leg (a later X-ray revealed a fractured tibia). Leaving him at ‘Pilgrim’s Rest’ we pushed on to arrive at St. Peter’s church in Bexhill.
One week before this walk I happened upon the fact that Bexhill was land given to the Bishops of Selsey (where I live and where we have walked from) and it was considered their eastern most See. The original Selsey Bishop was St Wilfred who persuaded the Synod of Whitby in 664 to conform to the Romanization of British Christianity. It was the argument of the superiority of St Peter, over Columba, who holds the keys to the gates of heaven, that won that day. These keys are the same used on the Papal crest, one silver and one gold, crossed. Every roman road we walked has pubs called ‘The Cross Keys’ on it. These ‘crossed keys’ speak of the power of control over the gateway to heaven and they were held by ‘St Peter’. We have a ‘St Peters’ in Selsey and the same is mirrored in Bexhill which I began to see as two places that hold these ‘cross keys’ in place across the land like an imprint of control. Papal keys that are really the people’s keys! In Selsey I was given a key 2 years ago…. so while standing the porch of the locked ‘St Peters’ in Bexhill it struck me that I was here to collect the other key…simples! Two keys, one left, one right, uncrossed and lined up with the River of Life flowing up to St Albans and back down again that we have walked. All crosses are to be ‘bagged’ for Jesus because He took that horrific sign of empire’s control and bought us Life through it.
My huge gratitude to the teams and all who supported these two walks, it was not easy but it is done and is very gooooood! It has been a hidden time of hard graft in preparation for walking all that has been called for, up through the centre of ‘The Bell’, from Brighton on the coast, thro London, thro St Albans to Lincoln. I am hoping this may feel like more of a celebration having got this far!
This month, I will walk on from Luton with Paul Wood to Northampton, nabbing 4 ‘Eleanor Crosses’ on the way. We began at Stratford at the Olympic sites in east London and then picked up the River Lea at Edmonton to it’s source at Luton last Autumn.