Sunday, July 3, 2005

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
December 18 were ahead of schedule and just about finished. On December 19 a
terrible empest - 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
Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was like a
"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
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
True Story - submitted by Pastor Rob Reid
Who says God does not work in mysterious ways..


  1. A truly remarkable story. Always observe the simple things around us and enjoy them. Be thankful of the beauty that surrounds us.

  2. This website claims the tablecloth story is a re-make of a 1954 Readers Digest story.