Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Art (01/18/07)
TITLE: Altars of Rembrance
By william price
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The painting hung on a wall inside a stone house on a rocky shore of the North Sea in Denmark.
“Is this where he lived?” Peter Kinnenun asked the older woman standing next to him.
“Yes, Rembrance lived alone in this house.”
“Did he paint that picture?”
“Picture? You call a masterpiece a picture?” The woman walked up to the painting and caressed the old wooden frame that held it in place. “Yes, he was a great artist.”
“Did you know him well?”
The woman slowly removed her hand from the painting and wiped a tear from her eye.
“Yes, I knew him.”
“Is this a painting of Jesus and his disciples in the storm on the Sea of Galilee?”
“No, that would have been Rembrandt. This painting, this house, on this shore is an altar. Rembrance built it himself.”
“Why would he construct a home on such a desolate shore?”
“Do you only ask questions?” The woman’s eyes were dark brown and keen.
“I believe Rembrance is my grandfather. Before my father died he told me about this place.”
“Your father, he is dead?” The woman placed her hand to her mouth.
“Yes, he died two months ago.”
“And his name would be?”
“Edward,” Peter answered.
“Edward.” The woman whispered. “And your name?”
“I am Peter.”
“Peter; that is a good name.”
“And you are?”
“Me? I’m just an old woman who looks after this place. I journey out here once a month to tidy up and pray.”
“My father said he had traced his adoption process here to Denmark and learned his father was a man named Rembrance Jeppe. He told me he came here once. It‘s exactly as he described.”
“Yes, I had heard somebody had come a few years back.” The woman walked to the front door and looked out to the sea. “And what brings you here, Peter?”
“Curiosity, mostly. I live outside Amsterdam now. I’ve been doing a lot of praying, and to be honest, I felt led to come. But I didn‘t expect to find anybody else here.”
The woman smiled. “I didn’t know anybody was coming.” She walked back inside from the door. “Rembrance prayed too. This is where he interceded for Denmark and Europe. You see that painting? Those ten people represent the countries he prayed for. And yes, that is Jesus in the center of their boat. It was a very unstable time.”
“I had heard he was a recluse.”
“No, Peter, he was an intercessor with a wife who did not share his passion for revival. There was no food or money. She felt time should have been spent praying for their home and trying to sell his paintings.”
Peter tilted his head to the left as she spoke, trying to hear what the woman was really saying.
“Do you know why he gave my father up for adoption?”
“He didn’t. She did. The foolish woman left him and gave their son up because she couldn’t care for a young child. Rembrance then moved and built this house.”
The woman took a deep breath. “This isn’t the only room he prayed in.” She hesitated. “He also built an altar of remembrance in the bedroom.” She nodded toward another door.
Peter walked into the room and noticed a portrait of a dark-haired man with a beautiful young woman holding a baby. Peter inspected the painting more closely. The brush strokes directed the focus of the piece to the woman’s eyes. She looked just like…
“That is where I found him.” The woman spoke slowly. “He was lying on the floor beneath that painting. I had come to check on him. I didn’t know he had painted that.”
“It’s beautiful, but father never mentioned this.”
“It wasn’t here. I had removed it. The frame needed replacing. I just re-hung it today.”
Peter looked at the painting, then back at the woman.
“Yes, that’s me holding your father. Your grandfather’s final prayer was for his family.”
“Come here, please.” Peter’s arms were outstretched.
The two tearfully embraced under the last painting of Rembrance.
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