Angels Save the Day
by David S. Milotta
I felt the three distinct rivulets of sweat trickling down my back under my clergy shirt, as they joined forces, and streamed south. It was a hot August Saturday afternoon for my first funeral service with my new congregation. The Lord had placed me in a multi-ethnic, neighbor island church in Hawaii, in the middle of a rural sugar plantation community.
“We really need a fan up here,” I muttered, as the sweat dripped into my eyes. The men in the congregation were sweltering in their shiny, well-worn, funeral-only, suits. I was wearing my obligatory white clergy robe with Hawaiian motif stole on top of my black clerical suit and collar (minus the jacket).
The service was going well with touching family testimonies and colorful stories recounted by fond friends. My turn came, and as I mounted the pulpit, my eyes swept over the congregation. Among the supportive smiles of members I could also see the old time samurai types who were forced to attend out of family obligation. They were watching me with neutral faces, but their body language, with arms firmly crossed over inflated chests just shouted “Try to impress me, newcomer.”
“Lord I place this service into your hands,” I silently prayed and proceeded to hold forth with an evangelical message worthy of the old missionary preacher, Rev. Hiram Bingham himself.
“Nobody knows when death may strike.” The words were barely out when an elderly gentleman in the center of the third row just keeled over. I was stunned, not knowing what to do. The organist rushed over to him rendering aid. A deacon headed for the office phone.
My first thought was, If you’re going to die, just have the decency to crawl out to my office and die. But don’t do it here, in the middle of my well-planned service.
My brain sort of snapped back and I saw the people in a commotion as pews were moved to make room for him on the floor. I knew I had to take action. But what kind?
Feelings of helplessness and desperation overwhelmed me as I was losing control of the crowd.
“Oh Lord, help me now,” I nodded my head and prayed.
I looked up and suddenly, to my unimaginable surprise, I saw two giant angels in the back corners of the church, standing from the floor to the ceiling. I was totally mind blown. These were not gentle cherubs. These were experienced warriors. I instantly knew they were angels of the Lord, the very same who slew the one hundred and eighty-five thousand Assyrians recorded in Isaiah 37:36.
These angels radiated power, influence, control, experience, and authority. I got the impression that they had their glory turned down like on a dimmer switch for a light. They could go to full blast at any moment and kill with their blazing presence. They stood on watch with their arms folded. The angels looked like men in armor that the Israelites wore. They had swords, beards, and helmets. If they had wings, I did not notice any. They were greenish and not bright. I understood that their muted appearance was an accommodation for me.
I felt transformed by the angelic presence, like I had been supernaturally given the ability to take command of the situation. I immediately led everyone in prayer. We prayed for the afflicted man as well as the deceased. The church organist was a nursing instructor and knew how to help the stricken man. Thanks to the quick-thinking deacon’s prompt call, by the time I finished the prayer the nearby fire department had arrived with oxygen. It turned out that the man had fainted because of the heat and he didn't have a heart attack. He wasn't admitted at the hospital and went home later that same day.
Many people returned home thinking how well I handled a difficult situation. Only I had seen the angels in the back of the church that had strengthened me with supernatural poise and leadership. When I was in a desperate situation God answered my plea for help. God doesn’t always answer our prayers in this dramatic fashion, but for me, his angels saved the day.
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