Angels Unawares: The Distraught Man

The Distraught Man

By Barbara Muzychka

I had been attending Trinity Church is Asbury Park, NJ for a couple of months. I was not sure why I was there. Organized religion had always left a bitter taste in my mouth and for years I was agnostic and cynical when anything about religion was brought up. I started going there because I was impressed with their outreach programs for the community. I could have just volunteered with those programs and not bothered with the Sunday Mass ... but there was something about those bells and smells that gave me comfort, but at the same time made me suspicious because of some child hood memories of the churches attended with my family and experiences in catholic schools that had made me bitter with the thought of religion.

I liked the way the pastor spoke during the homily. He mesmerized me. He drew me in, as if in a hypnotic path. I loved to watch the way he loved God and how transformed he became during the Eucharist. One Sunday, during Mass he was the angel who changed my life. It was the moment that I knew who he was and I knew what direction my life would take. A moment that took my breath away and a moment of stillness while God did his work through this angel.

It was at Mass and everyone had just finished receiving communion. there was a man I did not recognize who just stayed kneeling at the alter. The pastor stopped what he was doing at the alter and went to that man and knelt beside him and put his arm around him. The church was still....the silence was penetrating...the poor organist was lost as to what to do as were the LEM's. I felt paralyzed as I watched this pastor continue to kneel beside this distraught man and minister to him, as if they were the only two people on earth. It was one long moment, maybe ten minutes, maybe less...I have no idea, but that moment changed my life.

BAM! that is what religion and Church are all about. Right there at that moment, it was all summed up for me. I will never forget Rev. David Hermanson and the love of God that he had, that he lived, and that he shared.

Barbara Muzychka Trinity Church, Asbury Park
BAMintrans@aol.com 732-988-2738


You are welcome to submit your essays for consideration for this series. Send them to lcrew@newark.rutgers.edu Identify yourself by name, snail address, parish, and other connections to the Episcopal Church. Please encourage others to do the same.

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