Offa’s Dyke Path

I was pleased last week to walk part of the Offa’s Dyke Path, a national trail which accompanies the border between England and Wales, around sixty miles in length. It sometimes follows the ditch ordered by King Offa, eighth-century King of Mercia who apparently wished to have a clear boundary between his own lands and those of the Welsh Princes with whom he had spent his life fighting. My stretch was too far northern to see any of old Offa’s digging project, but the views were fabulous. Had I the luxury of time and money to have kept on walking (rather than exiting the trail after only two hours), I would have either crossed over into England or come close to doing so. Borders are seldom straight lines, and the Welsh and English countrysides are remarkably similar. Yet wherever one walks this path, the other nation is never far away.

Each day we live, we dice with death. Accidents, illnesses and wars often strike at unexpected times. We are only a few heartbeats from demise, only a few breaths away from the grave. Do not worry about when you cross over, but enjoy the views and relish your destination. We Christians do not fear those borderlands, and neither do we fear the final destination, which shall be the welcoming arms of the Lord Jesus.

The Saviour lives no more to die!
He lives, the Lord enthroned on high!
He lives, triumphant o’er the grave!
He lives, eternally to save!

He lives, to still his people’s fears!
He lives, to wipe away their tears!
He lives, to calm their troubled heart!
He lives, all blessings to impart!

He lives, all glory to his name!
He lives, unchangeably the same!
He lives, their mansions to prepare,
He lives, to bring them safely there!

S. Medley, Gadsby's Hymns, No 751