Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Art (01/18/07)
TITLE: Child of God
By Timothy Oesch
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Mr. Finch had acquired this vast estate by chance when it was bequeathed to him by an old friend’s grandmother, Mrs. Harsithe, whose fence he had regularly mended. At the time he had thought peanut butter and jelly sandwiches a smashing reward for his hard work, but even in his most hopeful of dreams he had never imagined such fortune could befall him. For all of those years he had thought the elderly lady to be nearly impoverished, but as he came to find out the cold corridors and lonely halls of this stately manner were simply not to her liking. Why she had chosen to live in a drowsy suburb just outside of Manhattan he would never know and didn’t particularly care seeing as how people have a right to live where they like. More important was the question of why she had given the thing to him. A lack of direct family was the obvious answer, but an unacceptable one in light of a letter that the late Mrs. Harsithe had left to him.
The letter itself read something like this, “Dear Harry, how I do thank you for tending to my fence all those years ago. I don’t think you’ll ever really understand what that meant to a lonely old woman such as myself, but perhaps I might repay you yet. The house, a lovely place to be sure, my lawyer and more “official representatives of the grand state of Virginia” than you’ll be able to bear (they want to turn it into a sort of tourist attraction, but much like myself that house doesn’t want to be bothered with all sorts of people nosing about in its business) will fill you in. Go to the second floor, third corridor and observe the picture you will find precisely thirteen paces from either direction. This is my gift to you, may it be as great a blessing to you as it has to me.”
Naturally Mr. Finch had expected to find a painting by Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent Van Gogh, or some similarly timeless artist, but what he actually found sent a tremor of horror down his spine, for before him hung the One from Whom he had been running nearly his entire life. In a frame some ten foot by ten there were four pictures separated by thick lines of gold embroidering telling the tail of Christ from birth, to crucifixion, to resurrection, and finally depicting Christ as judge. Though not themselves the most poignant depictions, the images shook the aging man’s soul so that he was struck motionless as tears rolled slowly down his face and the love that he had once felt for God as a child burned like fire within his heart, causing him to fall to his knees and cry out to the Creator of all things Who willingly sacrificed Himself so that we may not perish, but have everlasting life. Some forty years ago, in a Church nestled amidst pizza parlors and barber shops, Mr. Finch, then known as Harry, had given himself unto Christ and now, after years of frantic flight, he had been overtaken. What first began as fear soon turned to joy and horror to praise, for he was born anew not a child of men, but a child of God.
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