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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 sank when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing
a large area of plaster about 20 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 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?

I asked the Lord to bless you as I prayed for you today.
To guide you and protect you as you go along your way.

His love is always with you, His promises are true, And when
we give Him all our cares you know He will see us through.
So when the road you're traveling on seems difficult at best,
Just remember I'm here praying, and God will do the rest.

Pass this on to those you want God to bless!

[WEBMASTER NOTE: Floating email article that found its way into Swan's mailbox.
Research by the Desk found it attributed at one point to Pastor Rob Reid as a true story.
No infringement of copyright is intended.]

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