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April 16, 2014- 12:09am
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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 opportun-
ities.

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 rain-
storm 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
wondered how there could 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 in 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 Islandand 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.

This is a true story - submitted by Pastor
Rob Reid.

Who says God does not work in mysterious ways?



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