Tomnaverie stone circle sits on a hill overlooking Aboyne, on the edge of the Scottish Highlands. It is collection of standing stones, much restored, and with a large recumbent, for the purpose of who-knows-what. Like many other megalithic circles, it is sited on a hill. It is much easier to transport stones to lower places, or keep them in valleys, than to drag them up slopes. So often, hills were chosen for religious worship. Old Testament shrines were frequently known as the ‘high places’, and received much censure from the prophets. They were likely associated with Canaanite deities, the worship of which the Hebrews had begun to absorb. There is nothing wrong with churches being in high places- our own is officially located on Newby Hill. Yet I wonder if constructing sanctuaries on high is a feeble echo of Babel’s tower, a reaching up to heaven to bring God down. In Christ, God came down by His own design at a time of His choosing. He needed no prompting from men.

If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, thou art there. (Ps 139:8, ASV).

Circles, shrines and temples have all been on the hills, but often we find God in the valley.

Whitendale Valley, Lancashire