Moment: “Who Wouldn’t Want a Blessing?”

Contributed By By Ricke Reed, Church News contributor

  • 12 March 2014

Priesthood holders are sometimes requested to take the sacrament to ill or elderly Saints. In that capacity, I once accompanied two talkative priests on a visit to Brother Lomax.

At his care center that Sunday afternoon, the hallway was lined with seniors anxiously awaiting familiar faces. Behind them sat others, who dared not hope to have visitors that day.

Profound sorrow emanated from still others who, feeling useless or purposeless, believed they were being warehoused in a place where physical needs were met while spiritual ones too often went wanting.

Brother Lomax greeted us apathetically, then wordlessly led us to his room where his only participation was partaking of the sacrament. When our hymns, prayers, scripture, and spiritual thought left him largely dispirited, it was clear our work was not done.

Most priesthood blessings follow a request, which demonstrates faith, a prerequisite to healing, but some do not.

To Nephite survivors, the Savior said, “Have ye any … that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them” (3 Nephi 17:7).

There, Christ offered to bless. Desiring to emulate Him, I asked, “Brother Lomax, would you like a blessing?”

Nearly flying from his chair, he shouted, “Who wouldn’t want a blessing?”

This outburst, rife with unaddressed frustration and despair, related to his upbringing.

Taught from infancy to make do with what he had and to ask for little or nothing, ever, Brother Lomax had coped as long as he could. Now, however, it was time to experience something better.

In a priesthood blessing, he learned he was neither alone nor forgotten, and he heard that his Heavenly Father was pleased with him.

After leaving, my priests were unusually silent, but finally one said what both were thinking: “I had no idea he needed a blessing so badly!”

Brother Lomax’s dramatic declaration has not been forgotten. It has impacted my ministry and moved me to do all in my power to ensure that desperately needed blessings are never overlooked. —Ricke Reed, Sedro Woolley Ward, Mount Vernon Washington Stake