Monday, December 19, 2011

Believe that everything happens for a reason

This has been around for a while, and you have probably seen it before, but it always gets me.  So here it is again, a touching story that reminds us and helps us understand that things happen for a reason.

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 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 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
she 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 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
he saw the greatest Christmas reunion
he could ever imagine.

True Story -  by Pastor Rob Reid

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