Thursday, February 12, 2009

Form and Power

At the end of our Elder's Quorum meeting last Sunday, a brother made a special request. This brother has been inactive for many years, but has become active again in recent months, and it has been very moving to hear his testimony and to witness that testimony in action as he has begun making various changes in his life. This brother announced that he was soon to have surgery. He asked his brothers, the members of his Elder's Quorum, if they would give him a blessing.

When he was asked who he would like to bless him, he named me.

Recently reactivated, this brother didn't know that I am excommunicated and not a priesthood-holder. I told him I couldn't do it, and then my heart just literally broke. Others volunteered and came forward and blessed him, and all I could do was add my silent prayers to their blessing.

After priesthood meeting ended, another brother approached me. This brother is a former bishop and our former ward mission leader, and was one of the first people in the ward to befriend me when I first started attending in October 2005. I'm not sure why he was sitting in on Elder's Quorum that day, but he was. He made a beeline for me as soon as the "Amen" of the closing prayer had been said. He told me how much he appreciated my contributions to our class discussions. Then he said, "I can't even begin to imagine how difficult all this is for you. But you are needed." He gave me a hug as I wept in his arms. I am so grateful for Bro. H.

Despite the potential awkwardness of this whole situation, I left not feeling the least bit humiliated, but simply and totally loved. The brothers in my Elder's Quorum are incredibly humble and loving, the kind of men among whom this sort of vulnerability is kept sacred. I was overwhelmed, actually. I couldn't fully process what had happened in that meeting intellectually. Every time I thought about it, I simply started to weep. The Spirit has been with me in a most powerful and peculiar way since then, comforting me and encouraging me to be patient.

I have tried to sort things out in my head. This brother who has recently become active, Bro. S., barely knows me. He is African American. He has been a member of the church many years, since before 1978. We've hardly spoken since he's become only recently active again, though we spoke after priesthood and he told me he thinks he knows me from somewhere. I'm not sure why he asked for me to bless him. But in asking, he blessed me. I believe I have much to learn from him.

There is power in the priesthood. This experience was a testimony to me of the truth of that. I have wrestled much with the Lord since then. I've shed many tears in the past week. I've asked "Why?" And only this morning have I had a glimpse of an answer. It is that there is no priesthood without faith; no priesthood without humility; none without service, without love, without long-suffering. If the present anguish of this God's-kingdom-coming has anything to teach us, it is that.

1 comment:

Beck said...

This overwhelms me. What an incredible experience and what sensitivity not only of the former bishop but of the brotherhood shown to you and the sensitivity, respect, and love to you in this setting!