Faith as ‘stepping into the poetic’

img_8037Yesterday Churches Together in Central Peterborough organized an excellent reflection day for Advent at the Cathedral. It was led by Canon Mark Oakley from St Paul’s Cathedral and his theme was ‘Poetry and Faith’. One of his word images was about thinking of churches, worship and faith as being like ‘stepping into a poem’. God is the cause of our wonder, and so the language of faith is poetic. He contrasted this with what he called having ‘newsroom ears’ or going into St Google’s, where facts are on tap. This basic difference of approach, of ways of listening and thinking is why many struggle with the language of faith. If you come into a church with ‘newsroom ears’ and then hear all the poetry, it will jar with what your brain is expecting to hear and process, and may strike you as being thoroughly ridiculous. The Bible is full of poetry and poetic allusions, our hymns and psalms are nothing but poetry. As we sing them, read them, hear them, we know that metaphor has been let loose to play and pray.

If that is true generally of faith and worship, Advent and Christmas have this with flashing lights. They are seasons of the poetic and the wonder of allusion and resonance. Our first reading (Isaiah 11:1-10) was not really talking about a tree or vine, with roots and shoots, branches and stems. It is an image to conjure up the sense that there is a thread that will come to fulfillment. The image goes back to the house of David, and his father Jesse, and so draws on all of the allusions of a Kingdom established and secure, a time of prosperity and liberation. Jerusalem shall be established, and that is the holy city, where God dwells among us. Again the poetic is employed. The temple is not where God lives, but is the focus for all that their faith means, where it has a special place for them to connect and reconnect with it. It is the place where the name of God is honoured in a special way and that becomes identity forming.

When we ‘step into a poem’, words have profound meaning but cannot be tied down. This is not the preserve of lawyers and constitutional experts, for whom the fine detail is everything in defining with precision and limiting so as to be specific and unambiguous. This is the preserve of the visionaries and those who expand imaginations to dare to dream, dare to risk, dare to embrace with love. Poetry is the language of love and so we should not be surprised if what comes through sacred texts is love: love of God, love of neighbour and love of ourselves. Mark Oakley gave us the image of looking at sacred texts as if they are a letter from a dearest friend. As we read or hear it, we will find love between the lines. To fully understand it we have to find the love in the allusions, in the phrases, in the spaces between the words and phrases and allusions. If we can’t find the love then something is either very wrong with the text or with how we are reading it.

This ‘stepping into the poem’ is particularly important when we find ourselves surrounded by shining lights and glitter, when nativity plays enact gospel passages as if news reports. Enacting the story is a good way of learning it, but we have to move beyond the literal to discover the truth being conveyed, explored and reflected. A child’s wonder will do this naturally, but as we grow we find the literal interpretation of the story wanting I suspect because we have stopped understanding the poetic in an intuitive way. Children have a way of doing this. The imaginative, the playful and the symbolic are their world. The knocks of life, the hard realities of adult responsibility can lead us to forget this and lose our grasp on it. Perhaps this is one of the meanings behind Jesus placing a child in front of the group and telling them that to enter the Kingdom of God they have to become like little children (Matthew 19:13-15; Mark 10:13-16). They need to rediscover the poetic, the metaphor and step into these.

And so John the Baptist enters onto the stage of our gospel reading, having raided the Old Testament allusion dressing up box (Matthew 3:1-12). He stops short of wearing a label marked Elijah, but a camel hair suit, leather belt and a snack of locusts and wild honey, is just as good to a people used to hearing the stories and recognizing the description (cf 2 Kings 1:8). He is a walking poetic allusion. The Book of Malachi, the last book in the Old Testament, ends with a reference to Elijah making a return before the Lord comes to bring all things to completion and fulfillment (Malachi 4:5ff), and Matthew later has Jesus explicitly refer to John as having been Elijah and they did not recognize him (17:12). So John is the warm-up act for the Lord’s coming and clearly this means Jesus. In Jesus all the hopes of the years, all the promises will come together and be fulfilled. He is the one they are looking for and hoping for. In Jesus, God’s mask is removed and we see what he is really like. He calls us to follow him, to live for him and trust him. He calls us love as he loves, with self-giving passion and in the light of the eternal. His is no passing kingdom of earthly rulers and those whose end is to be encased in fine tombs. His is a Kingdom that breaks open tombs and will not be contained.

The poetic allusions continue because having referred to the tree and the root of Jessie, now there is axe ready to chop it down. This refers to the tradition represented by the Sadducees and Pharisees. Just standing in the line of ancestors is not enough. If they do not bear fruit, then they do not embrace what lies at the heart of the baptism John has brought. This is to be ready for the Kingdom of God, to be open to it and want to live in its light, its peace and its justice. Stones can be turned into offspring of Abraham; God can make new followers out of the most unlikely places and the justification comes in how they respond and live. The Sadducees and Pharisees as representatives of the cultic and rabbinic traditions are exposed; for all their learning and devotion they have failed to live the poetry of that faith. If they had they would have recognized the truth in front of them, the sign of God’s presence and true holiness embodied. So the fulfillment which comes to the tree, to the stock of Jessie, does not just flow by entitlement but comes with a difference, with a demand that those who are grafted into it bear fruit, live its peace, love in its hope.

Advent and Christmas are seasons of deep poetic allusion. We step into their poetry and so find the language of faith deepened and excited. We are glimpsing something far greater than we can grasp or contain. When we gaze through the candlelight that light enables us to see the profound in the shadows and hinted at understandings more than we would if we tried to define it with facts on tap. God is a wonder to be adored and not a neatly defined object. It is because of our limited comprehension that poetry is a fuller understanding than systematized formula. Advent and Christmas are seasons when this is at its most intuitive and important.

Sermon preached at Peterborough Parish Church, Advent 2 – Sunday 4th December 2016

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Advent 2 (Year A) – Prayer

A prayer for lighting the second candle on the Advent ring. This prayer draws on the readings set for the Second Sunday of Advent, Year A in Church of England Revised Common Lectionary.

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Advent 2 (Year A)

God of hope,

your prophet spoke of an end to enmity,

when peace and harmony

would be led by a little child.

May this light encourage us as we live

in eager longing for his kingdom.

Straighten our paths that his way

may be prepared

in wisdom, understanding and wonder.

Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.

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Advent 1 (Year A) – Prayer

A prayer for the lighting of the first candle on the Advent ring.

 

img_8010Advent Sunday (Year A)

God of peace,

you call us to walk in hope

and eager expectation.

May this light remind us

to work for an end to conflict,

for healing of injuries borne

and to be ready to meet you

as judge and Saviour.

Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.

 

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Cryogenics and the Victory of Christ

img_6662The Christian Year is marked by two bookends, one at the beginning and the other at the end. It begins with the first Sunday of Advent, which is of course next week. Advent looks forward to both the coming of Christ, whose birth we celebrate at Christmas, and also to the end of time when all things will be brought to fulfillment, which we express in the phrase “Christ will come again”. That final hope is also held today, at the end of the Christian year, with the feast of Christ the King. This is when we celebrate and mark that the Kingdom of God is a reality now, this is God’s world, God’s creation, and all things are subject his just and gentle rule. We can have confidence and trust that whatever happens to us personally and more widely in the world, there is reason to have hope. Ultimately the life we have now is provisional; its lasting value is only to be found in the love and grace of God, which will bring all things to fulfillment in Christ.

Interestingly, this provisionality and fragility of the life we have now was recognized in the court judgment on the case of ‘JS (Disposal of Body)‘ which was in the press this week. This concerned a teenager who asked for her body to be preserved through cryogenics after her death from a rare form of cancer, until some future date when she could live again. The court judgment actually said that this was already allowable under the law, but this case came to court because her parents did not agree and the person concerned was only 14 years old. In the judgment there is a statement that a body is not an item of property. It does not belong to anyone and cannot be left in a will. In law we do not own our bodies and neither does anyone else. We can express our preference for what we would like to happen when we die, but it is down to our executors to achieve what they can and to make arrangements for “proper disposal”, a phrase which has itself changed over time. The judgment was on who, which of the parents that is, would have the power to determine and make the arrangements given that they disagreed on what should happen.

The judge also referred to cryogenics as being a “speculative science”, given that it is a process which looks to an unknown solution to the problem of death. It relies on scientific procedures which are not yet known, if they exist at all as a future possibility, to reanimate cells and therefore the life which has ceased. There have been some interesting questions raised about what it means to reanimate the cells and bring back ‘life’. What does it mean to be a person of memories and relationships, environment and context when we are reanimated in an unknown future with none of our current setting? The desire to live is contextually based and rooted. We are persons in community and relationship; we are not persons in isolation. It is one of the confusions of our time where we forget this or it is diminished in various ways. So the level of dislocation which a reanimated person would feel several centuries in the future is likely to be significant and possibly unhealthily so. It also assumes the memories would survive, like in Dennis Potter’s 1996 film Cold Lazarus, where a head is cryogenically preserved and the memories accessed in the future. In Potter’s film the preserved head becomes distressed when it is woken or reanimated at its state. Persons are persons in community and relationship, and memory functions in that context too.

The bible readings chosen for this celebration of Christ the King give us a real person in community and relationship. We are not given a remote figure who issues commands and exercises some kind of celestial magic power. Even miracles, whatever lies behind these stories, involve the elements as we know them. The raisings, the bringing of the dead back to life, which could be seen as a kind of cryogenic outcome, involve the body we have in front of us coming to life again and rejoining the context it knew and is known in. The resurrection is a future event into a very different reality and a different context with different ways of relating, which I talked about a couple of weeks ago with the story of the unfortunate woman with 7 dead husbands. The Epistle reading, then, this morning gave us the hymn celebrating Christ as the image of God among us, in a real context and web of relationships, and the peace that comes is brought through the cross (Colossians 1:11-20). The Gospel reading was part of the crucifixion narrative (Luke 23:33-43). When we look at statues of ‘Christus Victor’, of Christ in Majesty and in triumph after the resurrection, always show him bearing and displaying the marks of the nails from the cross. Christ is the Wounded Victor; he is raised to glory but only after real death on the cross. This is not remote salvation, but among us and within the life we share in all its pain and sorrow. The Kingdom of God comes very near indeed; it touches earth not in the abstract but in the real. When we celebrate the Kingdom of God we do so through the cross, which grounds it in the reality of life, in the reality of a person in community and relationship.

It has become popular in some church circles to talk about growing the Kingdom of God; that this is our task. And growth is very much a focus of the agenda of the church at the moment, for good reason. The celebration of Christ the King, though, moves the focus to the other end. We have confidence that the victory is already Christ’s and so what we aim to do is join in with the purposes and hope of God; to allow the reign of Christ to rule in our hearts and lives, to live his justice and peace in where we are. So any notion of growing is actually about how many people join in. Christ in triumphing over the cross, through the cross, shows us that he has this under control. It shows who he is, that God’s sovereignty and ultimate hold is not in question, nor is it dependent on us. It is bigger than the provisional and fragile creation of which we are part. Our call is to join in through living in accord with his justice and holiness.

There will come a day when all that we know will end and the hope we have is not in some form of cryogenically reanimated status. It is for and in another reality altogether; it is in the Kingdom of God and in the victory of Christ which takes us beyond this fragile and provisional existence. This is why the Christian year ends with a celebration of Christ the King, of the fulfillment of the Advent Hope.

“Come thou long expected Jesus”; come to our salvation.

Sermon preached in Peterborough Parish Church, Christ the King, Sunday 20th November 2016

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Faith through the eyes of a poet

img_7814On Thursday I went to the first performance in England of what was called a ‘fantasia’ by Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, who can clearly add playwright to his incredible list of talents. ‘Shakeshafte’ is a play imagining William Shakespeare’s lost years between school and stage. There has been much speculation about where he went but in this new play Rowan Williams imagines him travelling to Lancashire to teach in the household of a wealthy Roman Catholic family. During his stay Williams brings him into contact with the clandestine Jesuit priest Edmund Campion who visits the house in great secrecy. The play was all the more special for being performed in Shakespeare’s own Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon, where he is buried in the chancel. It also happens to be where I was baptized and was a chorister.

The imaginings are not completely wild. They draw on known events, John Shakespeare, his father, being prosecuted for not attending the parish church, his own links with recusant families and the speculation over whether he held Catholic sympathies himself. Many have wondered. And so Rowan Williams gives us a young man clearly influenced by a Catholic sympathizing schoolmaster and as a bright young man being encouraged to pursue the cause. The drama explores these possibilities.

Two scenes in the play stood out for me. The first half presented us with a young William struggling with how you understand people deeply, by ‘entering them’.   He exclaims how he wants to be inside them. How can we know another from their inside out and discover why they see the world so differently? He feels that the Jesuit Campion, whom he has met, as a skilled spiritual director has understood him in a way very few others have. There are echoes here of how the gospels portray Jesus knowing people deeply and seeing them in a way others do not. The woman whom Jesus met at the well – depicted in the window by the font – goes with great excitement to tell her fellow villagers, “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done!” (John 4:29). That level of perception and deep listening, deep seeing, leaves an impression. For a budding playwright, studying people so that they are understood from the inside is a sign of Shakespeare’s genius and certainly a quality many admire in his plays.

In the second half there was a scene with Shakespeare talking with the priest. The discourse presents us with a joust between dogma and poetry, and the poetic seems to win, at least for Shakespeare and I suspect Rowan Williams too. The young Shakespeare is struggling with how truth can be known when there are so many competing voices, when people see things so differently. It is a modern question too and certainly one for any child of the Reformation, which of course Shakespeare was. To Edmund Campion the dogma is held by Holy Church, which can be trusted, and by the lives of the saints, observance of whose days keeps us tuned in. Yes, there are many voices, but not all of them produce harmony. Listen for the harmonies and filter out the discordant noises, Will is told. This will not do for William, nor I suspect for Williams. The different voices hint at truth being harder to grasp, much bigger than we can grasp or narrow down, but possible to be glimpsed in the poetry of the different voices. I watched this on the day the Church of England remembered Richard Hooker, Shakespeare’s contemporary whose gift to us was the three pillars of Scripture, Tradition and Reason as our tools to assess truth. Scripture is the story of faith, tradition is how we have got to where we are and the journey of faith, reason is the use of our intellect to understand – perhaps the dogmatic and the poetic need one another more than is often realized.

Our first reading gave us an appeal for an iron pen with which to write words in rock (Job 19:23-24). Words set in stone have an appeal because they look solid and stable, secure and sure. But there is an illusion about this. We saw in Italy last week that stone is not as sure as we tend to think. It can be shaken by tremors deep in the ground; it can be split open. Anyone visiting an old graveyard knows that the carved letters erode over time and what seemed clear becomes harder to make out. It can need the light to be in the right direction for the shadows to make the letters easier to see, or even wetting to help the words stand out.

The language of faith is closer to the light and shade of poetry than to dogmas set in stone. We glimpse through a glass dimly, as St Paul put it in his famous hymn to love (1 Corinthians 13). But poetry must play with what adds up and not float free. There is a rooting which comes from time honoured wisdom, the light of all we understand and all that has shaped us. How do we listen deeply so that in that listening we may be better understood and know we are? And there is the struggle when things do not make sense and we have to find our way through, but persist in the hope and trust that it is worth persisting with. That is a theme of this period from All Saints to Christ the King – the struggle to see in the light of hope.

The most charitable explanation of the Sadducees question to Jesus, in the gospel (Luke 20:27-38), about the unfortunate woman with seven dead husbands is that they were struggling to make sense of what to them was a different idea when their tradition seemed to say something else. How could they be sure it was based in anything? So they devise this conundrum. The story doesn’t come from nowhere, but can be found in the Apocryphal book of Tobit (Chapters 3-7). This tells the story of Tobias, who plans to marry a young woman called Sarah. Sarah has had seven husbands previously and they all died on their wedding night. This becomes suspicious and word begins to go round that she is responsible for their deaths. While Tobias is in the chamber with her, her father digs a grave fully expecting number eight to end the same way, but to his and everyone else’s surprise Tobias lives and they go on to have seven sons. The two of them are given to each other forever and it would seem the production of children is seen as the seal of their union forever. So the Sadducees question of to whom the woman belongs would seem to be settled by childbirth. The Law (Deuteronomy 25:5,6) stated that the woman should be handed on to the next son in the event of the first or previous one dying childless. Tobias broke the cycle. So one answer to the Sadducees question would be that she is the wife at the resurrection of the one to whom she bore children and at the stage of number seven that is none of them, so it’s not really a question about the resurrection at all, but about her status.

Jesus’ reply takes this question from a completely different angle, disputing the basis of the question, that is how they see resurrection. He refused to be locked into their logical puzzle. The dead have died and so any new life is just that, something that comes after being in the state of being dead. It is not a continuation of the state of being now. Death disrupts this and so we need to look at this differently. The new life of resurrection is life beyond the state of being dead, not just after death or beyond it. So the woman’s status is not found in the limits of social structures now. Likewise God is bigger and faith needs to be open to this.  The poetic mind is more able to see this than the one carving letters in stone. That is why I think Rowan Williams’ Shakespeare is not satisfied with Campion’s dogma alone.

Our readings this morning offer us an opportunity to look deeply into the nature of faith. It needs to be based in the reality of what we see but also allow us, through the eyes of the poet, to glimpse a future we don’t fully see which is bigger than what we alone can see. There are many voices, which need assessing, and it is in the balancing of Scripture, Tradition and Reason that we find truth comes more into focus. Poets help us expand our vision to see greater possibilities than we had previously imagined.

Sermon preached in Peterborough Parish Church, Sunday 6th November 2016

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Shakeshafte

img_7810Last night (Thursday 3rd November 2016) I went to the first performance in England of what was called a ‘fantasia’ by Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury.  ‘Shakeshafte’ is a play imagining William Shakespeare’s lost years between school and stage.  There has been much speculation about where he went but in this new play Williams imagines him travelling to Lancashire to teach in the household of a wealthy Roman Catholic family.  During his stay Williams brings him into contact with the clandestine Jesuit priest Edmund Campion, who visits the house in great secrecy.  The play was all the more special for being performed in Shakespeare’s own Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon, where he is buried in the chancel.

The  imaginings are not completely wild.  They draw on known events, John Shakespeare, his father being prosecuted for non-attendance at the parish church, his own links with recusant families and the speculation over whether he held Catholic sympathies himself.  Many have wondered.  And so Rowan Williams gives us a young man clearly influenced by a Catholic sympathising schoolmaster and as a bright young man being encouraged to pursue the cause.  Plays give us the chance to play with words and events, to explore possibilities.

Two scenes in the play stood out for me.  The first half presents us with a young William struggling with how you understand people deeply, by ‘entering them’. He exclaims that he wants to be inside them.  There is a bawdy play on the words with a maid taking this as a sexual reference.  But the young William, and Williams for that matter, is going much more deeply.  How can we know another from their inside out and he also feels that the Jesuit Campion, whom he has met, as a skilled spiritual director has understood him in a way very few others have.  There are echoes of how the gospels portray Jesus knowing people deeply and seeing them in a way others do not.  The woman whom Jesus meets at the well goes with great excitement to tell her fellow villagers, “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done!” (John 4:29).  That level of perception and deep listening, deep seeing, leaves an impression. For a budding playwright, studying people so that they are understood from the inside is a sign of Shakespeare’s genius and certainly a quality many admire in his plays.

In the second half there is a scene with William talking with Campion. The discourse presents us with a joust between dogma and poetry, and the poetic seems to win., at least for Shakespeare and I suspect for Rowan Williams too.  I could almost hear William’s own voice in this conversation. The young Shakespeare is struggling with how truth can be known when there are so many competing voices.  It is a modern question too and certainly one for any child of the Reformation, which of course Shakespeare was.  To Edmund Campion the dogma is held by Holy Church, which can be trusted, and by the lives of the saints, observance of whose days keeps us tuned in.  Yes, there are many voices, but not all of them produce harmony.  Listen for the harmonies and filter out the discordant noises, Will is told.  This will not do for William(s).  The different voices hint at truth being harder to grasp, much bigger than we can grasp or narrow down, but possible to be glimpsed in the poetry of the different voices.  I watched this on the day the Church of England remembers Richard Hooker, Shakespeare’s contemporary whose gift to us was the three pillars of Scripture, Tradition and Reason as our tools to assess truth.  Scripture is the story of faith, tradition is how we have got to where we are and the journey of faith, reason is the use of our intellect to understand – perhaps the dogmatic and the poetic need one another more than they realise.

Campion is in disguise as a merchant of jewels.  He plays with the double imagery of this – he offers the pearl of great price in the gospel.  By happy coincidence, this came up in the Old Testament reading on Friday.  To the writer of Proverbs, wisdom is a jewel  more prized than all wealth (Proverbs 3:13-18).

The name ‘Shakeshafte’ comes from one of the four known examples of William Shakespeare’s signature and his grandfather went by that name.

The imagined conversation between Shakespeare (Shakeshafte) and Campion implies the former’s courting with Roman Catholicism, much speculated over, but I get the feeling Rowan Williams thinks he found its dogma wanting, even if he was attracted by the mystery and the sacramentalism. The poetic always offers the prospect of more to be seen, from the depths of the inside.

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Living with Diabetes

img_4705According to a report today, in 2015 there were 3.8million people living with diabetes in England and the number is rising. As one of them, having been first diagnosed 20 years ago, I have learnt a few things about how to manage the condition.

1 Mortality Moment

Being diagnosed with diabetes is a mortality moment, a moment when you become acutely aware that you are mortal and will die.  We are not indestructible and this is one of those diagnoses that brings this home. For even the most spiritually realistic this can be a shock, because I was in my early 30s when I was first diagnosed and being able to live life to the full was my assumption. I wasn’t expecting the diagnoses – it came on a new patient visit to a new GP having moved to a new parish. (These appointments don’t seem to happen now and without it my condition would not have been picked up so soon.) I remember the nurse doing the urine test and turning to me to say “I think you have diabetes” – that blunt, and no softening of the blow!

I did not match any of the classic triggers, which are usually repeated by news reports: poor diet, overweight, lack of exercise.  But I still had to come to terms with the fact that I really did have it and so there were still adjustments to make – straight away.

2 Balance

The condition has to be managed or it will manage you.  This involves balancing how much food you eat – how much sugar and sugar producing carbohydrate – so that what you take in matches what your body can process, with the help of whatever medication you are on.

If you take sugar in your tea, stop it. If you eat lots of prepared meals – stuffed with sugar – stop it. If you like sweets – stop it. Sorry to be so blunt, but it’s what I had to do and I did it instantly. My tastes have changed and I now can’t stand too much sugar.

If you can’t do this get help – by talking to the GP or diabetic specialist nurse, who in my experience are well worth spending time with. The dietician will help work out what is good to eat and what should be avoided and it might be that counselling is needed.

3 Let them (not) eat cake

My congregations all know that I am diabetic and they know that there are times I will refuse cake, because I don’t want the sugar, and they know there are times when I will stuff my face with it, because I  do want the sugar rush. They know that I am weird and cut off the icing from the top, because it is as it says on the tin ‘icing sugar’. They also know that I have a stash of sugary sweets in the vestries in the Parish Church and Cathedral.  These are my emergency supplies and they know that if I start talking gibberish I may need the tin!

I carry supplies with me – glucose tablets, wine gums, a twix… and I know I have to check my blood sugar so that I know if I am likely to go too low.

There are alternatives – foods sweetened with natural sugars: cakes sweetened with vegetables, breakfast spread sweetened with fruit juice.  I avoid the artificial sweeteners – I learnt the hard way what happens if you eat too much and it’s not pleasant. When they say on the label that it might have a laxative effect, believe them and be warned.

4 Work, Rest and Play

The gift of diabetes is that it is a dramatic reminder that we need to live life in balance.  I am not a robot and I know that I need to rest.  I may take a bit longer to recover from a cold and have a flu jab each year. I need exercise and living in a house on 4 floors helps!  Vaccing the stairs will get my blood sugar down if I’ve spiked myself on something!  Taking the stairs instead of the lift and walking when you can is good, natural exercise.

5 Finger pricking

When I was a blood donor I used to the find the finger pricking test the worst part. Now I feel like a pin cushion. It can be misery inducing. I’ve just started using an automatic tester with a patch on my arm read by scanning it with a device the size of a small mobile phone. It means I can check my blood sugar several times a day – to be honest I do it multiple times a day. I can check during meetings and stop worrying that I am going to suffer from a low or being over anxious about when we’ll get to have lunch. I even have it in my pocket in case I get worried during a service.  I am a fan of this new device, not least because it’s a gadget.

6 Live with it

Diabetes is a condition that we have to learn to live with. It does disrupt life – I have to build the management into my routine – but it doesn’t stop me from coping with a very active and busy schedule and shouldn’t. I am inspired by athletes like Steve Redgrave who manages to achieve Olympic gold with diabetes, James Jones the former Bishop of Liverpool who fulfilled his duties with diabetes, and the Prime Minister, Theresa May, sustains her impossibly busy commitments managing diabetes too. If they can, I can.

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