Pastor Jack’s dream began in the summer of 1966.
He just graduated from a fine school of divinity and accepted the call to pastor a little church in Montana. The church used to be an old railroad station that the members had reclaimed and lovingly transformed into a place of worship.
They had taken the original station benches and arranged them into pews. The old railroad bell was encased atop the roof in a steeple with a cross. The outside of the church was surrounded with all kinds of native flowers that dotted the landscape like shining bursts of stars.
While Pastor Jack prepared for his first church sermon he thanked God for leading him to this historic church that stood as a small monument to the Lord.
Sunday finally arrived and Pastor Jack walked up to the podium. He looked out at the smiling faces and began to preach.
As he preached he noticed a little old gray haired woman slouched over, sidewinderlike, taking notes at a feverously pace. Sister Mabel was an 86 year old woman who was a charter member of the church. Originally she had sat in these same pews waiting for trains to carry her back east. Pastor Jack soon learned that Sister Mabel had been a brilliant criminal attorney who back in the day had never lost a case.
Now----“The rest of the story!”
Pastor Jack finished his sermon and stood at the back door shaking hands with each member of his small congregation as they left.
When Sister Mabel arrived she handed Pastor Jack a torn off page from her yellow note pad. He thanked her and watched her elegantly walk out the door supported by her old white cane.
Later that day after all the members were long gone he sat alone in one of the church pews. He wondered what words of wisdom this brilliant old time attorney would have for a young up start Pastor. He unfolded the crumbled page and read Sister Mabel’s note.
Dear Pastor Jack,
First let me welcome you to this enchanting historical church. Take a good look around Pastor for many famous people have sat in these pews waiting on their train. I sat here with Franklin Delano Roosevelt as he waited in this very station for his train back to Washington after his Polio treatment in Warm Springs.
I remember sitting in this station across from Ernest Hemingway, Fred Astaire, and Errol Flynn just to name a few of the famous who have graced this station.
I can still hear the old conductor yell out---“All aboard!” There would be a scurry of activity as the young and old boarded. The old train whistle would blow and then in a puff of smoke it would disappear down the track.
Pastor, you have the wonderful responsibility as conductor of this station to sound the gospel whistle of Christ.
Keep yelling out, “All aboard!” Yell it out with urgency Pastor Jack for the train will soon depart. Make sure you get everyone on board that you can. Remind them that the ride is free, the price has been paid, their ticket has been punched, and their destination is glory.
Love, Sister Mabel.
Pastor Jack heard a noise behind him; he turned around and saw Sister Mabel standing there with a tear in her eye.
“Are my words as inadequate as they sounded to me when I wrote them?” She asked.
Pastor Jack stood up and smiled awkwardly. “They are just what I needed to hear Sister, Thank you.”
For the next two years Sister Mabel encouraged, supported, and cheered Pastor Jack in that little church train station
Sister Mabel boarded her train into eternity in the fall of 1969 and Pastor Jack went on to preach in a mega church down South. He keeps Sister Mabel’s note tucked in his bible and he can still hear her shaky little voice saying:
“The train will leave soon Pastor---Get Everyone on Board!”
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