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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Table Cloth Story

Below would make a great Christmas story but Christmas is such a long way off, and as impatient as I am (sometimes), I thought I'd have an early Christmas story. This is a true story. Enjoy.

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 December 18 were ahead of schedule and just about finished.

On December 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 damaged area on the plaster in 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. He 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.
So when the road you're traveling on seems difficult at best. When there is nothing left but God, that is when you find out that God is all you need.

Amen.

Source unknown

9 comments:

  1. read this before... certainly God at work...

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  2. If god is so wonderful, why did he/she/it allow the Nazi's to do what they did? Why were these decent people separated and made to suffer?

    If the religious are going to give god credit for the good, then they need to blame god for the bad as well.

    Mysterious ways my *#@.

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  3. Um...um...I see now. Panda is an Antitheist.

    Just as the Chinese often say, if you believe it God or spirit things, then there it is.
    If you don’t believe it, there is isn’t. [信者則有, 不信這則無].

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  4. Nope, panther, Panda is not an atheist.

    Blind faith is however not wise, nor fair to anyone.

    We should be mindful of our own action, rather than to wait for God's Help.

    If God can help in every situation, there will be no tsunami, bird flu, SARS, earthquake and natural disaster.

    Anyway, this is a good reading, Thanks Happy for posting this.

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  5. Zewt, hi. Some articles are worth rereading. Yes?

    Pandabonium, thank you for your thoughts. That's some food for thought there.

    PP, that's true coming from a culture whose people believe in a lot of things (superstitions) especially if one practises Taoism.

    Robin, glad you enjoyed the story. Mindful is a good reminder. Who was it who said that nothing is good or bad but it's the thinking that makes it so.

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  6. A few years ago, I came across a story which was supposed to demonstrate God listens to our prayer:
    A poor couple couldn't afford to buy milk powder for their baby. They prayed for God's mercy. Then, a Good Samaritan appeared from nowhere and handed them what they wanted.

    My co-worker, who happened to have a new-born baby, pointed out that the milk described in the story was not meant for baby!

    The Table Cloth Story is a nice one, but don't take it too seriously.

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  7. KS, thanks for sharing that. Everything must be read with a pinch of salt, of course. Thanks for the reminder.

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  8. Thanks for the beautiful story.

    Human love to read touching stories, some feel truly touched in the heart, some do it for the feel-good factor, and more often, many whose life has not encountered similar miracles/happiness, can gain hopes and faith in human nature.

    Many miracles happen in life. Some attribute it to God's work, some say it is karma, some view it as coincidence. I do not think panda is an atheist, he just use a logical way to analyze a situation, which I think is better than some blind-faith approach adopted.

    One thing we know about life is there are many sufferings and difficulties, but it is our love and hope that keeps life going.

    Just my two pence...


    P/S: Like Khengsiong noticed, this story is some variations of other beautiful stories which have gone around. For reference

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  9. Hey, YD, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Blind faith is neither good nor bad. We all believe in what we believe so faith is an individual thing. Like PP said, if you believe it, it's real. So is faith, blind faith or otherwise. Does it make sense?

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