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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Love (04/27/06)

TITLE: The Greatest of These is...Which?
By Stephanie Bullard


“It has been said that the greatest of all gifts bestowed upon man by the Master is love.”

“And to the feeble human mind, that is simple enough to understand.”

“But comprehension is not as easily grasped as it would first appear.”

“’The greatest of these is love’; but the question is WHICH love?” Storge crossed his arms, a congenial smile on his face as he glanced at the other three.

“Most do not realize that the word ‘love’ contains not one, but four different meanings. So which of the four of us is in truth the greatest?” None spoke. “I put forth that I am the greatest.”

“Why do you say that?” Eros jumped in, demanding with his usual passion.

“I am the most common.”

“Explain!” Storge leaned back, comfortable in his claim and hardly put off by Eros’s heated glare.

“I represent nothing more and nothing less than simple affection. I weave my influence into the most menial aspects of the humans’ lives. People feel my variegated affection for their pets, or their neighbor’s niece, or a speaker they admire. I flit into their consciousness nearly every minute of their time-controlled lives.”

“Ludicrous!” Storge shook his head and passed the conversation to Eros…he would take it by force soon any way.

“It is nothing short of absurdity to believe the title of ‘greatest’ would go to any but myself!” Philia spoke up, always the one to try to keep the peace.

“Relax, my friend. It is your turn to speak. Present your case. We are prepared to listen.”

“I am the strongest, the most alluring. I can make people say things, do things they would never consider. The burning power that I create consumes the thoughts, manipulates the actions. I have the power to bring together, to tear apart, to build up, to cause to fall. My potency cannot be denied, nor resisted.” Eros’s smile was nothing short of triumphant as he sat back. He knew he had won. He always knew he had won, regardless of any evidence to the contrary.

“I would speak now, on my own behalf.” Half statement, half question, Philia gave a friendly smile to the room at large. Storge held his hand out, a gesture to continue. Confident, Eros gave a ready nod.

“While both of you make excellent cases, I fear that mine will prove the strongest. My own version may not be as widespread as yours, Storge, or as powerful, as yours Eros, but it is the most stable. Eros your potent form blasts the human mind and heart with a force that rattles them to their soul and leaves them dazed for a period of time. However, you fade, and with the absence of your passion there is little foundation. You leave the creatures feeling empty, confused. Storge, you are extensive, but also mild. Your affection is prevalent, however it fades with just as much effortlessness as it enters the mind. My form presents love as a loyal, dedicated form. I am deeper than you, Storge, and more lasting than you, Eros. My form is able to withstand many of the minor emotional rigors to which the human creatures are subject. I believe that my tenacity wins me the title of being the greatest.”

His voice had been unobtrusive, almost apologetic, but his words had a strong effect. Storge’s normally affable complexion had paled; Eros sputtered unintelligibly. The room quickly dissolved into a chaotic clamor of raucous dispute.

“Peace.” The one word, spoken with a quiet calm commanded the attention of the three opposing comrades. They quieted, their eyes turned to the one in the corner, their contemporary who until this time who had remained silent. His unassuming disposition belied the authority he could demonstrate with little more than a look or a word. Storge, Philia, and even Eros clamped down on their unfinished comments and allowed the other to speak.

“You all have been given positions of high regard in the lives of the Master’s most precious creation. You play important parts and as a collective group make up the most powerful emotion bestowed upon them. However, I represent a form of this great gift that the humans can never completely grasp or comprehend. My form of love is a one-way demonstration, bequeathed upon all humans, but given by only One. Truly unconditional love can only be expressed by the Master and Creator of all.”

Thus said, Agape resumed his silence. The others had no reply.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Sherry Wendling05/05/06
I like it! A creative and effective approach to teaching the various aspects of love. A really strong opening would be to launch directly into the conversation. You effectively used the tension between characters to frame the truth about how they actually work in harmony. Nice ending, with the phrase "one-way demonstration," and saving the name 'Agape' for last!"
Sherry Wendling05/05/06
Oops, sorry! I guess you DID launch into the conversation from the beginning...Good! I missed it because the quotes didn't really give me a clue about who was speaking. Thanks again for a really creative teaching piece!
Helen Paynter05/08/06
Great creative approach. Just occasionally the dialogue was, I think, a little hard to follow. But overall, a very interesting piece.