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Needles Church California 83

A Gambling Mecca

Gambling and the chance of winning the jackpot was the main attraction of this glittering Mecca. At my next port of call, the sleepy little town of Needles, a very different pursuit attracted its devotees there, fishing. For on the Californian highway, the clear running waters of the Colorado river bubbled right past the door of St. John's little timbered church in Needles. The boating marinas and excellent fishing made it a favorite stopping off place for anglers, also weary travelers taking a break from their journey. One day, a casually dressed middle-aged gentleman wandered into the Parish Hall where I was working. "I was driving through," he explained, "and was attracted by your quaint little church in Needles. I thought I would look in." He carried a small Bible and we were soon chatting like old friends. Later, we went into the quietness of the church to pray. As we walked forward to kneel at the communion rail, our eyes were still adjusting to the darkness after the bright sunlight outside. Kneeling there, my friend gradually grew accustomed to the gloom. Suddenly, he realized that he was surrounded by crosses. A large brass cross on the altar and two ornate processional ones at its side cast their shadows across the sanctuary in the misty sunlight streaming through the window. His Gospel Hall did not approve of ornaments of any kind. He whispered anxiously, "Brother, I can't pray with all these crosses staring down at me!" Like a shot I rallied, "Then keep your eyes shut!" For a moment we both fell silent. Then he laughed and I did too. From that point we poured out our hearts in praise to God in the stillness. A few weeks later, he wrote a touching letter enclosing a small gift toward our work because of blessings received in that quiet hour in St. John's little cross church.

"Little Cross Church"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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