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                           MESS ON THE WALL

     Sometimes we just see the disasters and messes on the wall and don't
realize what is actually being orchestrated.
     When I was a boy, I stayed alot with my grandmother, she was always
making quilts... Really beautiful quilts. I was only five years old, but
just the right age to get under the quilt frame and push the needles back
up to the top side. I can remember thinking how "dumb" this pattern must
look from the other side, and why in the world were they pushing needles
down here? Being young and impatient, it seemed like an eternity before I
was allowed to come out and see what had been done on the top side. Time
after time, I was amazed at the beautiful quilt they were making on the
top side. I once heard someone say "life is sometimes like seeing a
tapestry from the back side, and watching all the ugly strings of thread
hanging down when all along we are totally oblivious to the fact that a
beautiful work of art is being created". The next time your having some
really really strange and rough times in your life and things seem so
bizarre think of the tapestry...

     This little story I received this morning made me think of all those

The brand new pastor and his wife, newly assigned to their first
ministry, to reopen a church in urban 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 sunk when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a
large area of plaster about 6 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, hand-made, ivory
colored, crochet table cloth 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 crochet  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 concentration camp. He never saw his wife or his home again for 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

Have a great weekend!
God Bless;
Larry Mitcham

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