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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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We doubted our God in secret,

We scoffed in the market-place,

We held our hearts from His keeping,

We held our eyes from His face;

We looked to the ways of our fathers,

Denying where they denied,

And we said as He passed, "He is stilled at last, And a man is crucified."

But now I give you certain news To bid a world rejoice:

Ye may crush Truth to silence

Ye may cry above His voice,

Ye may close your ears before Him,

fast ye tremble at the word,

But late or soon, by night or noon;

The living truth is heard.

We buried our God in darkness,

In secret and all affright;

We crept on a path of silence,

Fearful things in the night;

We buried our God m terror,

After the fashion of men;

As we said each one, "The deed is done, And the grave is closed again."

But now I give you certain news

To spread by land and sea;

Ye may scourge Truth naked.

Ye may nail Him to the tree

Ye may roll the stone above Him,

And seal it priestly-wise

But against the morn,

unmaimed, new-born

The living Truth shall rise!


Theodosia Garrison, 1874-1944

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