[MOL] Fwd: The Tablecloth [00978] Medicine On Line


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[MOL] Fwd: The Tablecloth



 

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THE TABLECLOTH

The brand new pastor and his wife, newly assigned to their first
ministry, to reopen a church in suburban Brooklyn, arrived in early October
excited about their opportunities.  When they saw their church, it was very
run down and needed much work.  They set a goal to have everything done in
time to have their first service on Christmas Eve.

They worked hard, repairing pews, plastering walls, painting, etc. and on
Dec 18 were ahead of schedule and just about finished.  On Dec 19 a terrible
tempest -a driving rainstorm hit the area and lasted for two days.    On the
21st,the pastor went over to the church.  His heart sunk when he saw that
the roof had leaked, causing a large area of plaster about 6 feet by 8 feet
to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit,
beginning about head high.  The pastor cleaned up the mess on the floor, and
not knowing what else to do but postpone the Christmas Eve
service, headed home.

On the way he noticed that a local business was having a flea market type
sale for charity so he stopped in.  One of the items was a beautiful,
handmade, ivory colored, crocheted tablecloth with exquisite work, fine
colors and a Cross embroidered right
in the center.  It was just the right size to cover up the hole in
the front wall.  He bought it and headed back to the church.

By this time it had started to snow.  An older woman running from the
opposite direction was trying to catch the bus.  She missed it.   The pastor
invited her to wait in the warm church for the next bus 45 minutes later.
She sat in a pew and paid no attention to the pastor while he got a ladder,
hangers, etc., to put up the tablecloth as a wall tapestry. The pastor could
hardly believe how beautiful it looked and it covered up the entire problem
area.

Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle.  Her face was like
a sheet.  "Pastor," she asked, "where did you get that tablecloth?" The
pastor explained.  The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to
see if the initials, EBG were crocheted into it there.  They were.  These
were the initials of the woman, and she had made this tablecloth 35 years
before, in Austria. The woman could hardly believe it as the pastor  told
how he had just gotten the Tablecloth.

The woman explained that before the war she and her husband were well-to-do
people in Austria.  When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave.  Her
husband was going to follow her the
next week.  She was captured, sent to prison and never saw her husband or
her home again.

The pastor wanted to give her the tablecloth; but she made
the pastor keep it for the church.  The pastor insisted on driving her
home, that was the least he could do.  She lived on the other side of
Staten Island and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a housecleaning job.

What a wonderful service they had on Christmas Eve.  The church was almost
full.  The music and the spirit were great.  At the end of the service, the
pastor and his wife greeted everyone at the door and many said that they
would return.

One older man, whom the pastor recognized from the
neighborhood, continued to sit in one of the pews and stare, and the pastor
wondered why he wasn't leaving.  The man asked him where he got the
tablecloth on the front wall because it was identical to one that his wife
had made years ago when they lived in Austria before the war and how could
there be two tablecloths so much alike?  He told the pastor how the Nazis
came, how he forced his wife to flee for her safety, and he was supposed to
follow her, but he was arrested and put in a prison.  He never saw his wife
or his home again or all the 35 years in between.

The pastor asked him if he would allow him to take him for a little
ride.  They drove to Staten Island and to the same house where the pastor
had taken the woman three days earlier.  He helped the man climb the three
flights of stairs to the woman's apartment, knocked on the door and he saw
the greatest Christmas reunion he could ever imagine.

True Story -- submitted by Pastor Rob Reid

Who says God does not work in mysterious ways.


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