Wednesday, December 06, 2017

On the Tradition of Healthcare 6.29.2017

Invocation for the Saint Luke's Health System Leadership Meeting, 6/29/2017. Our System is faith-based, rooted in the Episcopal Church. In radical hospitality, we are explicitly supportive of the traditions of all our patients, families, and staff.

We as a group come from a number of different traditions. But, some of you have heard me suggest that there is a tradition we share, one that is a tradition of healthcare; and a recognition that healthcare in all its variations is holy work.

That tradition is old, older than we know. The Code of Hammurabi sets compensations and punishments for doctors and surgeons. Hippocrates learned his profession from his father and grandfather. Shimon ben Sirach was quoting his father when he wrote, 

Honor physicians for their services, for the Lord created them; for their gift of healing comes from the Most High, and they are rewarded by the king.

There is a tradition that is healthcare, healthcare as holy work, and we are all participating in it.

We, though, are not simply participating. We are leading. On the back of each badge in the room is our commitment to “the spiritual health of the communities we serve.” For us the communities we serve first, I think, are those we serve with. They are the physicians, yes; and also the nurses, therapists, technicians, engineers, housekeepers, volunteers - all those who share with us in creating and sustaining institutions of curing and healing, of caring and compassion and hope.

As we lead, there are various ways we might support the spiritual health of those we serve with; but I am sure this will be among them. We must reflect to them how each person contributes to the health and safety of every patient; and how each role expresses our commitments to service and compassion. We must recognize in them, and let them recognize in us, that we all participate in the tradition that is healthcare, and the knowledge that any service of healthcare - every service of healthcare - is holy work. Amen.

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