Monthly Archives: April 2015

GLORIOUS UNFOLDING

As I watch the news posts today, see the anger rising all around, I recognize ovalit…history does repeat itself. I remember walking around the OSU campus my freshman year…watching news in the making, seeing the anger rising all around, and thanks to some great educators and wise parents – I recognized it then and walked away.

“For I, the Lord, love justice;
I hate robbery and wrongdoing…”

It is hard to watch it happening again. For a few weeks after 9/11, I remember eagle_flag_facethinking that we, as a nation, had turned a corner. Churches were full. People talked about God and America in the same sentence. Flags flew high over every home, business and school. Patriotic songs bubbled out of radios and TV shows. But within a month, I felt a heaviness returning, and – surprisingly – it carried a darkness that I had not seen since walking that college campus so many years prior, and I became uneasy. It was then I turned a corner and got more serious in the WORD.

“In my faithfulness I will reward my people
and make an everlasting covenant with them….”

Almost 15 years ago. Hard to believe. It has not been an easy journey – then again – what spiritual journey is? The bumps were/are hard; the knees raw and filled with the stony grit that evil spreads along our path. When you turn to the WORD, inevitably, the evil one notices and tries to intercept. I looking back at it now, I see his fingerprints throughout it all. Yet –  in the midst of chaos – it is always hard to keep my focus on the Light seen dimly ahead, so I repeat His Promises over and over – one step forward – all forward – stand up – following the Light of His Promises.

“Their descendants will be known among the nations
and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
that they are a people the Lord has blessed…”

imagesThe chaos is increasing and by all indications – will continue to increase. But as I watch the saddness in Nepal, the anger in the Middle East and America, it is good to remember Our Father’s promises. He has never forsaken a promise. He never changes. He continually reaches out for us. He sent His Son and the Holy Spirit to pave the way back to Him. He is I AM. He is His promises.  He is a Glorious Unfolding.

“For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness
and praise spring up before all nations.” ~Is 61:8,9,11

Sad as it is. Scary as it is. I will sleep well tonight. His promises – the comforter that enfolds me. His love – the lullabye that gently closes my eyes. His Son and angels stand guard through the night and listen to my prayers for His peace and righteousness to bless our land – all lands around the earth – our families – all families around the earth…as it was in the days of The Garden…proclaiming to all – “….on Earth as it is in Heaven…”

A DAY’S JOURNEY

nepal-gegarYou just never know where a day’s journey will lead. Woke up with a praise song drifting around the corners of my mind. Listened to the rain splatter against the car windows as I drove to a local herb show in a nearby church basement. Didn’t buy much (which is a very good thing, seeing as payday is a week away). I was hoping they would have some hard-to-find treasures amid the usual, but it was pretty traditional fare. However, I did have fun losing myself in the smells of each plant and the overall presence of – albeit – temporary garden for a few minutes. And then – I wondered – what does it smell like after an earthquake?

Later, I happened upon a new consignment shop. Any store named for my April treasureschildhood “thinking” tree (Willow Tree Consignment & Gifts) has to be investigated, so I stopped. I found many treasures but three that really spoke to me…a chair for my desk, a carved, faded vase and an old clay crock. Useful things of days gone by – treasures that hold stories I’ll never know but can feel as I touch them – treasures that have survived for a few years on this chaotic sphere that we call home. And then – I wondered – how many old things remained to tell their stories in Nepal?

“All people are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall…” 1 Pt 1:24

It is becoming harder and harder to watch the news, and even when I don’t watch, it manages to sneak up behind me and shake my world a little more. I think of the societies under attack – whether by terrorists or the terrors of nature – societies are suffering. Mothers, fathers, children, infants, elders, grandparents, families, strangers, visitors, missionaries, friends, enemies…none of those terms mean much in the face of tragedy. But Christ is much braver than I. He and His angels are there….were there…the entire time. Walking through the rubble… cradling the orphaned and hurt…escorting the 1000+ souls to their new homes…comforting the fearful. And, it is then I remembered…

“…the WORD of the Lord endures forever.” 1 Pt 1:25

The WORD came for times like these. The WORD became flesh for times such as these. The WORD suffered for times like these. The old words of a much older praise song rose to my the forefront of my mind as I was writing tonight. Its message just as true today as it was in the 1700’s. Solace for scared societies…hope for harried households…Grace for the gardeners who have lost sight of how to care for the garden.

“Our God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
our shelter from the stormy blast,
and our eternal home:”

pray for nepalWith each word I write, the verses seem to gain strength. It is no longer just the voice in my head, but that of an unseen choir members and parishioners – the orchestras – the conductors and ministers of those who sang this song centuries before I was born and will continue to sing it when I finally get to join them.

“A thousand ages in your sight
are like an evening gone,
short as the watch that ends the night
before the rising sun.”

For Nepal I pray, for Israel, for Coptic Christians, for the homeless, for veterans spit upon on a college campus, for those fighting insideous diseases, for those having fun on their prom night, for those that are drawing their first breaths upon this muddy ball, for those who do not see anything but darkness, for those who think You do not exist, for all Your children – in the name of Your Son, Christ Jesus – I pray – I sing – I whisper for found treasures buried in the rubble.

“Our God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
still be our guard while troubles last,
and our eternal home!” ~Issac Watts14604839-1429967338-640x360

 

BRING HIM HOME

arbeitmachtfreiIn the our society we are split in many camps. People who believe that the Holocaust happened. People who think it is an elaborate conspiracy theory. People who believe Jews deserved what they got – after all they are just money grubbing, Christ-killers. People who believe that it happened, but could never happen again. People who are silent because it makes them uncomfortable. People who pray but not much faith in their own petitions.

I’m not sure when I became so fascinated…..(the connotation of the word “fascinated” seems inappropriate……..perhaps “compelled” is a better choice}…….when I became so compelled to devour everything associated with these – basically – 12 (interesting number Biblically) years of German history: 1933-1945. Was it the soldier stories I inadvertently heard while I was supposed to be sleeping during late night parties? The teacher/preacher who had been a POW in GermanY? The Bible stories that mentioned the word “Jew” over and over? The diary of a young girl who did not live through her brief time in a concentration camp? The nightmares that haunted my dreams with a siren sound echoing over and over? Which ever it was – it started me on a journey that has never stopped.  I’m still compelled.

Since I’m no longer teaching a Holocaust unit, I had forgotten that this was the never againweek of Holocaust Remembrance. However, my subconscious (Or what I truly believe is the work of the Holy Spirit), kept me on schedule. Today, I realized that all week my devotions have been leading me to this particular place of remembrance, and I “hafsakah” (paused) before Jehovah Sabboth.

How many prayers did they offer during this persecution? How many lost their faith totally? How many tears fell upon the earth as their eyes beheld the evil in front of them? How many remained silent in the face of the evil that looked upon them with it’s terrifying, yellow eyes?

They were people like us. Elie Wiesel expresses it well in his first book, NIGHT – when his father brushed off the wearing of a yellow star on their clothes saying that they wouldn’t die of it. Elie replies from his grown-up vantage point, “Of what then did we die, Father?” People who went along because it wasn’t too bad at the beginning, People who were too wrapped up in lives to notice. People who hid their heads under their Yellowed-stared coats and hoped it would pass quickly. People like us.

As I pray my own prayers tonight, I think about those prayers they must have offered. Prayers that their homes would be safe. Prayers that it wouldn’t be as bad as they had begun to suspect. The Prayers of Psalms that they repeated in the darkness of a crowded cattle car swarming with smells and acts that paralyzed their vocal chords. Prayers for those missing or separated from them as German soldiers pointed their guns and yelled, “Snell, snell”. Jewish prayers for the dead…Kaddish.

Tonight one of my friends shared a Josh Groban recording of one of my favorite broadway songs that is in the form of a prayer. A prayer that is still echoing around the world today. A prayer that – perhaps tonight- Christ sings on our behalf….”God on high hear my prayer
in my need you have always been there….
he is young
he’s afraid
let him rest
heaven blessed
bring him home…….”

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EASTER’S HANDMAIDEN

mary at the cross How long had it been?  The handmaiden rose from where she had been trying to rest and walked to the small, elongated window.  The full moon of the Passover was already starting to wane, but was still bright enough to light the buildings around her.  The tiny gardens, stairs, sleeping animals were illuminated with its blueish rays.

She closed to her eyes, but the images inside her brain were still too horrific. Brushing her hair back from her face, she quickly finger combed it  and wove it into a long rope that ran the length of her back.  Her hands trembled from the effort.  How long had it been since she had eaten?  She could barely remember for sure, but she knew it had been a long time.  The last real meal she could remember actually eating had been a week ago with her son.  Their fast had begun after that. They knew what this week would bring.

Her eldest Son.  The moan escaped her throat before she knew it was coming, and she braced her hand upon the nearby wall for support. The tears ever present the past few days returned until her heart felt like it was ready to explode in her chest.  How could this be?  A week ago, they had laughed and talked with the others as if it was just another week in a string long weeks covering miles and miles of roads.  But when they beheld each other over the heads of those scattered around them, they knew differently.

Preaching.

Ministering.

Teaching.

Dying.

Certainly, the constant stream of friends, acquaintances, strangers filtering in through whatever field, doorway or rooftop in which they rested had been no different at all. No matter how many miles they had traveled or what strange accommodations, in which they found themselves, the people always sought her Son………and He never turned them away.  Ever.

Somehow, she and the other women had managed to keep the meals organized and, blessings be, found time to do their own preaching, ministering and reaching out to the women who had follow the men or timidly managed to come on their own.  Finding enough food was a miracle that only Our Father knew how it was provided; let alone, finding the right words and solace to offer.  It had not been easy, but then, nothing that Our Father had requested of her on this path had been easy…….except for Him.

Her first born Son.MARY a

It was not the life she had envisioned as she dreamed about becoming a wife and mother, and yet – there was nothing about it that she would have changed.  Her breath caught in her throat as the tears threatened to strangle her…nothing.  Everything that had happened since the Passover was as it was supposed to be.  She knew.  She understood this from the beginning…….. for she was His handmaiden.

Stepping through the curtain, she saw the others asleep on the floor.  Mary, Martha and the other Mary slept closest to her own small curtained off area.  As His mother, they had treated her with such respect, compassion and love…..urging her to rest.  But there are all sorts of dying, and while rest never came, a peace beyond all human understanding cradled her through it all.

The homeowner and his wife had vacated their own room, so that she would have privacy in her sorrow.  The other Mary moaned softly and shifted slightly upon the floor.  Reaching down, the Handmaiden pulled the slight covering up over the thin shoulders and touched her in comfort that she might sleep a little more.  The night had an aching chill to it, but it was almost over and all too soon, the women would be rising to go to the tomb with the herbs and spices.

Lifting her shawl up to cover her hair, she stepped over John and Andrew who slept by the doorway. The others of their small intimate group scattered to different places earlier in the day, fearing that they would soon be hunted down by the priests or the Romans as well. They feared that a larger group would attract more attention. She had tried to re-assure them, but they would not listen to her.  They had lost their shepherd, and they were afraid. It was the darkest part of the morning of the third day.

Moving quickly, she walked through the darkness towards the spot where they had laid the body of her Son.  The voice in her head urged her steps to quicken.  She was not sure what awaited her, but she knew that it was there that the Holy Spirit was leading her.  She smiled as she glanced up at the moon.  The prompting of the Holy Spirit had been with her since the angel’s first visit, so she was no stranger to His voice.  Grateful for such good memories, treasures which she kept and pondered them within her heart, she saw the garden ahead.

Fear wiggled around in her belly.  The Romans would be there; shen knew that yet her feet continued to move forward.  Suddenly, a small earth tremble shook the earth.  Knocking her sideways and off the path, her head hit an outcropping of rock as her knees and forearms scraped the ground.  How long the trembles continued to rock beneath her, she couldn’t tell but she heard feet running down the path she had just been walking.  Silence enveloped the area.

Wiping a trickle of blood out of her eyes, the Handmaiden stood and stumbled toward the tomb.  Illuminated with a brightness beyond compared, the tomb shimmered in the light. Three angels were rolling the rock away from the opening…Sariel, Gabriel and Gerel.  She knew them well.  Afterall, they had been in an out of her entire life.  It was then she realized that Chrisel had been walking beside her. Her heart beating in tune with the music that she heard all around her, lifted her feet, and like a child, she all but ran the remaining distance.

 “Peace to you, full of grace, Our Lord is with you; you are blessed among women,” Gabriel stood aside the tomb as he repeated the words that she had never forgotten.  Could it truly be that it truely had been 47 years ago? She trembled and fell to her knees just as she had done the first time.

“Do not fear, Maryam, the Son that you called Yeshua awaits you inside.  Enter and see the Salvation of the entire world.  As you gave birth to Him the first time on this tiny sphere called Terra, you are to be present as He takes on His new eternal body that embodies the one to be known as Christus Yeshua.  It will be He who will rule forever and ever, bringing Salvation to all men of Good Will.” 

Maryam bowed her head and breathed in the holiness of all that was around her.  God’s presence, the Holy Spirit cradled her and touched the ugliness of the past week with their glory.  Images too horrible to contemplate earlier, rose to the forefront of her mind. She could see all the sin and pain of the world swirling around her first born Son, corrupting the physical body and stretching it beyond human endurance………..and then……….touched by the Father’s merciful hand…………the sin evaporated into a blinding light of golden shimmers.

Behold,” she repeated the words that she had treasured for years, “I am the handmaid of THE LORD JEHOVAH; let it be done to me according to your word.”

 Standing, she walked into the tomb itself.  Her limbs no longer trembling.  The bloody cuts and scratches completely gone.  She saw her Yeshua standing before her.  Still wrapped in his burial shroud, she walked forward and began to sing her mother’s song of praise that she had sung so long ago in Bethlehem.  Unwrapping and folding each cloth, her hands capable and sure, she sang her unending prayer until He stood before her clothed in His new eternal body.

“Mother, behold, all things are made new.”  

She smiled.  His voice different and yet the same…………the same and yet………….not the same……….instead, it was so much more in its power and strength.  Her hands reached up to trace the planes of his face, much as she had done in that tiny stable. It was almost as if she could feel her beloved, Joseph, standing beside her, his hands covering hers just as they had in the stable.  Tears of joy coursed a path down her cheeks, and her Son, being her wonderful son, reached out to wipe them gently away.  As He smiled and enfolded her into his arms, the parent who had carried the salvation of the world in her womb become a child of His Grace, and the child, who had grown in a world filled with sin became a parent of a new world…an eternal kingdom that would draw all men of good will to Him through love, grace and mercy.

A Stable.

A Tomb.

Funny places to start a life, and yet, the perfect places to find the LORD JEHOVAH and CHRISTUS YESHUA.. He was no longer her son.  He was more……much, much more.

mary c“Come,” He said to her, “the others will be here soon and we have much to talk about.” 

As they walked into the main garden, the shawl that had covered her head, fell to her shoulders.  Her salt and pepper hair had turned completely silver and reflected th moonlight as they began to talk.  The angels followed them while choruses of cherubim sang rose petals about their feet.

Romans still hid.  They were afraid, but of what? They did not know.

Disciples trembled in their sleep and feared waking. Their shepherd was gone.

Women stirred and began to prepare for what must be done at the tomb.

Mary walked beside the Son she had brought into this world. A new treasured image to carry in her heart.  A new wonder to light her world when He departed once again.  It was not her time to join Him yet.  She still had work to do here. She knew the Holy Spirit would stay with her for her Son had said it was so in His teachings. Since that first morning when LORD JEHOVAH had walked in the Garden with his new creations, there had never been such a glorious morning in the history of the world.  Mary smiled.

There was nothing she would change of this journey.  It was Our Father’s journey and her heart swelled with thankfulness and praise once more.   “My soul exalts THE LORD JEHOVAH. And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has regarded the lowliness of his Maidservant, for behold, from this hour all generations will ascribe blessedness to me. Because He who is mighty has done unto me great things and holy is His name. And His mercy for posterity and generations is upon those who revere him. .He has wrought victory with His arm and He has scattered the proud with the opinion of their heart. He has cast down the mighty from thrones and has raised up the lowly .He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty handed .He has helped Israel, His servant, and He has remembered his mercy, just as He spoke with our Patriarchs, with Abraham and with His seed eternally.”Lk 1:47-55

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*Biblical conversation words are bolded, in italics and quoted from the Aramaic Bible in Plain English. Fictional words are just in italics.  Blessings!Be! on Easter 2015

 

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CHILD-LIKE PEACE

feet a“If we could be but children, small children
Blessed is He who could make us forget
the distress of our years.
With a long road yet ahead to our becoming,
Becoming older, sadder, and nostalgic.
But rose-souled children
Plucking joy like wildflowers
Whose world is not yet over,
With the sun laughing in the glint of their tears.”~Rachel Bluwstein Sela, known
as Rachel the Poetess

Ran across this poem today as I was reading devotions, and it touched that special chord that rings of truth within me. Aging does tend to take something out of us. Poets like to use metaphors. Simple stories that remind us of some profound truth that we have somehow forgotten. The stories often touch that small part of us that still identifies with the magical – the mystical – the spiritual – that child-like faith.

“And because Yeshua himself knew The Father had given everything into his hands and that he had gone out from God and he would go to God, He arose from supper and put off his robe and took a towel and tied it around his waist.”~Jn 13:3-4

Did you ever notice all the small stories and metaphors that are used in the Bible? People love stories. It starts when we are children with storybooks and continues throughout our lives: TV’s – movies – books – plays – even our music. God used stories in the Old Testament. Rabbi Yeshua knew a good thing when He saw it and Last often taught using metaphors and small stories when he taught as well.

“He took water in a wash basin and began to wash the feet of his disciples, and he wiped them with a towel which he had tied around his waist….” ~Jn 13:5

It is this part of the story that catches my breath in my throat. Did the discripes truely realize who was kneeling in front of them…..washing their feet? If it was me, would I? I fear that I would not have been so wise. Such symbolism in this simple act – such a strong metaphor that continues to bless the world with its intense visual – the Bridegroom washing away the physical dirt of His bride before His blood spiritually washes away the dirtiness of her soul.

“Do you know what I have done to you?” You call me, ‘our Rabbi’ and ‘Our Lord’, and you say rightly, for I am. If I therefore, your Lord and your Rabbi, have washed your feet for you, how much more ought you to wash one another’s feet? For I have given you this example, that you also should do in the same way as I have done to you.Timeless truth I speak to you: there is no servant greater than his master and no apostle is greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” Jn 13:12-17

A child would have known. A child understands the story better than any adult. A ‘rose-souled [child], plucking joy like wildflowers whose world is not yet over, with the sun laughing in the glint of [her] tears‘. Perhaps…maybe…possibly today, my childish self would recognize my LORD as He kneels at my feet. For today, I have laid another foundational stone. Understanding the LOVE of my LORD, FREEDOM from sin as He washed my feet, KINGDOM comes in its fullness of His righteousness and His PEACE surrounding each stone I have laid .

[google images]maundy thursday

 

YOURS IS THE KINGDOM

kingdom cMore eyes than mine seem to be focused on the moon tonight. I’ve seen several pictures posted on line, and I have been outside to look at it more than once. The moon’s fullness will help my youngest son celebrate his birthday. It will be the third blood moon of the tetrad. Passover begins on Friday at sundown…Easter comes on Sunday…the blood moon at 3:16 AM on the 4th.

“And when some of the Pharisees asked Yeshua, “When is the Kingdom of God coming”, he answered and he said to them, “The Kingdom of God does not come with what is observed.” “Neither do they say, ‘Behold, here it is!’ and ‘Behold, there it is!’, for behold, the Kingdom of God is within some of you.”.”…~Lk 17:20-21

The moon light drifts over my shoulder as I write tonight. Like an added blessing to a blessed day of friendship, Grands, a talky hubby and happy puppies. It is good to walk fairly easily again and have energy to boot. My new doctor seems to have targeted whatever remenants of this insideous infection that has plagued me since last spring. Who knew that bacteria could change the inward workings of the body character in such a massive way. And yet…………………………………….

“For if a kingdom will be divided against itself, that kingdom will not be able to stand.” ~Mk 3:24

And yet………………..isn’t that what happens when we accept Christ into our hearts? We can no longer serve the evil one and Christ. Everything – from our outward actions to the tiniest molecular interaction begins to change within us. For some, the change is easy and almost instantaneous. For me, the change has been a constant interaction of learning, testing, stretching, more testing. Mostly – because I am too stubborn, too full of doubts and too full of myself to just relax into His arms. Basically, it has taken a tiny parasite to show me what I should have seen way before this. Christ needs every part of us when we surrender so that He can set up His Kingdom within us.

“Our Father who are in Heaven, hallowed be your name,
kingdom aLet Your Kingdom come, let Your will be done also in the earth, just as it is in Heaven.Give us our necessary bread today.And forgive us our debts, just as we also forgive our debtors.And lead us not to temptation but deliver us from evil, for Yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory, for the eternity of eternities.” ~Matt 6:9-13

“…Yours is the Kingdom…” I like reading the Aramaic Bible in Plain English translation when I am reading scripture. It’s wording somehow finds that chasm within me and builds a bridge. A chasm that’s deep darkness cloaks my doubts…. fears…dizzingly heights that hinder me from proceeding on His journey. “For behold, the Kingdom of God is within some of you.”

The moon’s brightness lights our living room, and I know that when I go to bed tonight, I will open the blinds and let the light cascade over our bed as I say my final prayers for the night. I have foundational stones slowly being put in place. Christ and Our Father’s Love – daily. Freedom from my sins – daily. A new kingdom being established within me- daily. It is what Passover and Easter bring into my life – daily.

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http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2015/04/01/blood-moon-with-total-lunar-eclipse-biblical-message-rising-over-u-s-during-easter-weekend/

FREEDOM

cleft aIt is about this time when the quietness of night begins to enter the weariness of my body, and I rejoice in its peace. The neighborhood has long since closed their windows and tucked the little ones into bed. While chimatic tones caught by the breeze dance through the windows and pull my eyes toward the windows. The moon is larger tonight. Passover and Easter so close.

“My dove in the clefts of the rock,
in the hiding places on the mountainside,”

This is when Our Father speaks most clearly to me. He seeks me out. His dove. His child. He pushes away the sin of this day – just as He has pushed away the legions of sins in my past – and finds my hiding place – a small cleft in the mountain of shame.

“Show me your face…”

We humans tend to weigh our sins. Lies less than murder. Fresh fantasy less than actual adultry. Lofty logic less than inventive idolatry. Once up a time, I did not understan Grace…did not truely understand the gift given by a Father and His Son. Knees bruised. Tears racking the body. I walked away from His blessings and hid in the cleft of the mountain. I still have a tendancy to do that.

He sought me out in that mountain cleft then just as He seeks me tonight, “Show me your face…”

The words echo in the stillness as Light of His righteousness pierce the cracks in my fingers. Blood hues fill the cup of my hands. My eyes dare to open. I’m such a sad witness of His grace. How can I face Him again? How can I fall – time after time? Impatience…anger…pride…judgmental thoughts…lust for past idols haunt me, and I close my eyes tight against the Light once again.

“…let me hear your voice for your voice is sweet…”

I wander to my piano and let my fingers find familiar notes. Cracking at first, my voice echoes my weakness. Light fills the room and harmonies weaves peaceful waves in my ears. Blessings of grace fill the room leaving no room for the faulty choices that led me up the mountain in the first place. Mountain forgotten. Light touching every part of my being; I curl into the cleft of His hand rather than the hard cleft of rocky shame.

“…your face is lovely.” ~Song of Songs 2:14

I have been freed from my sins once again. Love. Freedom. Two major foundational stones of my faith and of this night. The geese have awakened for one reason or another. Their cries echoing up the from the lake and in through our window as I prepare to rest. It has been a long day of flitting here and there…human busyness that interupted and tried to divert. But He sought me out and Grace reigns.

Holy Week. A time to remember our frailties. A time to contemplate the Light of a Son’s gift to us. A time to remember that we are forgiven of our sins – totally… completely…eternally.

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