“Don’t call us ladies”

My mother raised me to address
with respect,
honoring dignity,
“Lady,” indicating recognition
mature, articulate, confident

Mother, Grandmother, Sister
Graduate educations
Professional mentors
Community leaders
Educators
Guides

They heard, I suppose,
deference born of superiority,
denying equality,
suggesting weakness,
implying frailty and delicacy.

I could not hear why
they could not hear why
I did not hear
as they desired to be heard.

What if I had stayed, waited
Anxious, vulnerable, uncertain
Curious, open, receptive?
What if I had asked to hear?
Teach me to listen.

I never knew what I didn’t know,
a different language –
vocabulary and structure.

Reference frames shift
as shadows with the passing sun
or is it the turning earth?

Can symbols be redeemed? Perhaps.
But not without hearing the pain
Witnessing the wounds
Bearing the crosses.

Only then may there be
Grace and mercy enough
For rolling away the stones.

© KenGCrawford, 2012

The First Supper – (11042012)

7 They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8 They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 9 Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with its head, legs, and inner organs. 10 You shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. 11 This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the passover of the Lord. 12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. 14 This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. (Exodus 12)

Your children will ask you,
“What do you mean by this observance?’
You shall say, “It is the passover sacrifice to the Lord,
for he passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt,
when he struck down the Egyptians
but spared our houses.'”

Any foreigner residing among you who
wishes to keep the passover to the Lord
shall do so according to the statute
of the passover and according to its regulation;
you shall have one statute
for both the resident foreigner and the native.

12 On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, his disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?” 13 So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, 14 and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, “The Teacher asks, Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 15 He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.” (Mark 14)

I tell you, I will never again drink
of this fruit of the vine until
that day when I drink it new
with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
go into the main streets,
and invite everyone you find
to the wedding banquet.’

They gathered all whom they found,
both good and bad; so the wedding
hall was filled with guests.

Jesus’ last supper
Our first
He says good bye
We say hello

His ending
Our beginning
His consummation
Our initiation

The Passover Meal
The Eucharist
The Paschal Lamb
Is the center of the Kingdom feast

We receive Him
Until he receives us
His death
Our life

Today, here, at this table
We enter into God’s glory
He promised to be with us

This is no last supper
This is the First Supper
This is our welcome
This is our entrance

This is God’s great hospitality
And on that day the King will say
“Well done, good and faithful servant.
Enter into the joy of your master.”

Considering Baptism?

Are you or someone you know considering affirming your faith in Jesus Christ through baptism?

Perhaps you have never made a public confession/profession of your faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and accepted his as Savior and Lord of your life an of the world, though you have been loving and following him in your heart.

Perhaps you do not know quite what it would mean for you to follow Jesus as one of his disciples.

Perhaps you are a parent, grandparent or other adult who is guiding a child toward faithful discipleship to Jesus, including profession of faith and baptism.

Or perhaps you are one of those who had a baptismal experience in your past and is seeking a way to reaffirm that experience – not unlike those Christians who go on a pilgrimage to Israel and walk into the Jordan River to remember their baptisms.

If any of these scenarios describes you, why not have a conversation with one of our ministry staff or elders. We would love to visit with you about your experience and interest in baptism and explore how we can journey with you in faithfulness to Christ.

Please feel free to share this with your neighbors, family and friends.

The baptistry is full, and the water is comfortably warm. What are you waiting for?

Ken G. Crawford
214-288-1663

For further reflection, consider reading:
http://kengcrawford.com/2008/11/13/thoughts-on-christian-baptism/

http://kengcrawford.com/2012/10/22/through-baptism-into-christ-we-enter-into-newness-of-life-and-are-made-one-with-the-whole-people-of-god/
http://kengcrawford.com/2012/10/22/baptism-as-a-beginning-of-being-beloved/

Hospital Employee Grief and Loss Support Program

The following is a discussion starter for developing a support program among employees as a 40 bed hospital. If you have insights from your own experience, I would appreciate hearing them. And if you would like help thinking through your own situation, I’d be happy to share in that conversation also.

An updated summary version is available here in pdf.

Initial conversation –

In the past few months several of our coworkers have experienced the death of significant person in their lives. Others are entering a new stage of life with parents and others experiencing a decline in physical or mental health. Still others experience stress and grief related to relationship conflicts and disappointments. All of this has prompted a discussion regarding how we as a staff support one another during these difficult seasons.

Some considerations –

Work relationships are important. People spend half of their waking hours at work. We often spend more time interacting with coworkers than any other people. At a place like TCH, because of our size, the potential increases for us to develop a sense of family. In our families we typically know how to respond when someone has a loss, but at work we may be less confident in what we might say or do to support one another.

What happens when a TCH staff member has a loss? Who do they tell, and what happens next? Some possibilities:

  • Employee informs supervisor
  • Supervisor/employee informs HR
  • Supervisor or HR have a sit-down with employee offer support and discuss bereavement leave and EAP
  • Supervisor or HR informs leadership team & Support Team (Psychologist, Chaplain, Social Workers, etc …)
  • Employee’s immediate coworkers are informed, with the permission of the employee
  • Formal acknowledgement of sympathy is sent (card, flowers, memorial, etc)
  • A “Buddy” coworker is tasked with offering intentional and focused support to the employee, with training and backup from the Support Team. Support may include how often to follow up and how – i.e. have lunch weekly for a month, and monthly for a year. Invite conversation, offer permission to share thoughts and feelings, and to normalize the grief process over time.
  • Supervisor or HR follow up periodically, prompted by a reminder in Outlook.
  • Employees have the right to “opt out” saying, “I do not want to receive specific attention for my loss” and to change their minds and “opt back in”.

 How do we as a staff support one another more generally?

  • Normalizing the grief and loss experience:
    • Recognition that loss comes in many different forms – death, divorce, illness or disability of self or significant other, loss of a hope or dream, significant geographic move of self or others, graduation of kids from High School or College,
    • Recognition that grief is expressed in many different ways – sadness, depression, flat affect, anger, lethargy, manic episodes,
    • Recognition that grief does not respect rules or a timeline – it ebbs and flows, sometimes sneaking up on us and taking us very much by surprise.
  • Periodic in-service training and town hall meetings to discuss various topics (quarterly or semiannually?)
  • Monthly book study

What is the difference between “sharing information to enable and encourage support” and “gossip”?

What are the boundaries between being friendly, collegial, supportive, and being intrusive? How do we invite/encourage each person to state their need and be able to speak when their need changes?

What other questions/considerations need to be raised that are not identified here?