Archive for February 2012

Devotion for January 6 (LCMS Daily Lectionary)   11 comments

Above:  A Globe

Image Source = Christian Fischer

For the Sake of Humanity

JANUARY 6, 2020

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Blessed Lord, who caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236

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The Assigned Readings:

Isaiah 66:1-20

Psalm 72 (Morning)

Psalms 100 and 67 (Evening)

Luke 3:21-38

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Some Related Posts:

A Prayer for Our Witness to the World:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/18/a-prayer-for-our-witness-to-the-world/

A Prayer to Witness to the World:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/18/a-prayer-to-witness-to-the-world/

A Prayer for World Mission:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/18/a-prayer-for-world-mission/

As Saints of Old Their First Fruits Brought:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/05/30/as-saints-of-old-their-first-fruits-brought/

A Prayer for All Bishops of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/06/13/a-prayer-for-all-bishops-of-the-one-holy-catholic-and-apostolic-church/

Light of the World, We Hail Thee:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/light-of-the-world-we-hail-thee/

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Thus said the LORD:

The heaven is My throne

And the earth is My footstool:

Where could you build a house for Me,

What place could serve as My abode?

All this was made by My hand,

And thus it all came into being

–declares the LORD.

Yet to such a one I look:

To the poor and the brokenhearted,

Who is concerned about My word.

–Isaiah 66:1-2, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures

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This is a devotion for the Feast of the Epiphany.  On this day we commemorate the Magi and focus on the taking of the Christian Gospel to the Gentiles.  The Feast of the Epiphany speaks of the universality of Christ.

The reading from Luke begins with a brief account of our Lord’s baptism and consists mainly of one side of his family tree.  This is material which most readers (often including me) skip.  The temptation (in Chapter 4) is more interesting.

We read in Isaiah 66 that God does not need a temple or sacrifices from we mere mortals.  As a note on page 913 of The Jewish Study Bible (2004) says,

…the Temple exists for the sake of humanity, not the benefit of God.

The link between these two readings is that God acted in time.  The Second Person of the Trinity became incarnate as Jesus of Nazareth.  He is our Temple, our high priest, and our sacrifice.  He is Christus Victor–for our benefit, not that of  God.  That is a message worth proclaiming to the nations.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 23, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT WILLIGIS, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MAINZ, AND SAINT BERNWARD, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF HILDESHEIM

THE FEAST OF SAINT DOSITHEUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF SAINT POLYCARP, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF SMYRNA

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL WOLCOTT, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER

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http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/for-the-sake-of-humanity/

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Devotion for January 5 (LCMS Daily Lectionary)   12 comments

Above:  Saint John in the Wilderness, by Thomas Cole

Great Expectations and Great Disappointments

JANUARY 5, 2020

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Blessed Lord, who caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236

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The Assigned Readings:

Isaiah 65:8-25

Psalm 99 (Morning)

Psalms 96 and 110 (Evening)

Luke 3:1-20

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For behold!  I am creating

A new heaven and a new earth;

The former things shall not be remembered,

They shall never come to mind.

Be glad, then, and rejoice forever

In what I am creating….

–Isaiah 65:17-18a, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures

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New creation was the order of the day at the end of the Babylonian Exile.  After so much destruction, what else could there be but something better?  This is a Biblical pattern:  Grace for the remnant follows judgment.  Restoration follows destruction.  The forms of grace and restoration might not be those we expect; they might be better.

John the Baptist proclaimed the arrival of Jesus, the incarnate Son of God.  This was not the variety of Messiah many people expected.  As a matter of fact, there were Judaisms in First Century CE Palestine, with a range of messianic expectations, from none to military leader to spiritual savior.  Yet is accurate to say that Jesus disappointed certain people in his faith tradition.  He was simultaneously something very new and very old.

The ideal kingdom which Isaiah 65:16-25 describes has not become reality, despite the coming and going of Jesus twenty  centuries ago.  So the promise of Isaiah 65:16-25 remains for the future.  How and when will God bring it to fruition?  I do not know, but may each of us do our part(s) to bring our reality closer to that vision.  This is possible, for society consists of people.  Social conditions are what people have made them.  People can change them.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 23, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT WILLIGIS, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MAINZ, AND SAINT BERNWARD, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF HILDESHEIM

THE FEAST OF SAINT DOSITHEUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF SAINT POLYCARP, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF SMYRNA

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL WOLCOTT, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER

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http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/great-expectations-and-great-disappointments/

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Devotion for January 4 (LCMS Daily Lectionary)   5 comments

Above:  Robinson’s Arch, at the Site of the Former Second Temple, Jerusalem

Temples Consumed By Fire

JANUARY 4, 2020

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Blessed Lord, who caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236

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The Assigned Readings:

Isaiah 63:15-65:7

Psalm 103 (Morning)

Psalms 93 and 97 (Evening)

Luke 2:41-52

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Our holy Temple, our pride,

Where our fathers praised You,

Has been consumed by fire….

–Isaiah 64:10a, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures

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It happened that, three days later, they found him in the Temple….

–Luke 2:46a, The New Jerusalem Bible

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The Temple–each in its own time–was the center of early Judaism.  Solomon had ordered the construction of the First Temple, the one which Chaldeans/Neo-Babylonians destroyed.  The Second Temple dated to 516 BCE.  This–in its expanded state–was the Temple which Jesus knew.  The Second Temple was, in the time of Jesus, the center of a religious system which separated the wealthy from the poor and the Gentiles from the Jews.  Those who converted currency at the Temple so that devout people could purchase their sacrificial animals with non-idolatrous money did so in such a way as to exploit those devout individuals.  And the Second Temple–with a Roman fortress next door–was the seat of collaboration.  This was the Temple which the Romans destroyed in 70 CE.

The Gospel of Luke dates to after that religiously cataclysmic event.  I wonder how the original audience responded to the story of Jesus conversing with the teachers there.  How we humans understand an account has much to do with our current reality.  We read our present circumstances into stories of past events.  Certainly this happened many times during the composition of the canonical Gospels.  And it has occurred many times subsequently as people have encountered those accounts.

Our holy Temple, our pride,

Where our fathers praised You,

Has been consumed by fire:

And all that was dear to us is ruined.

–Isaiah 64:10, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures

What is your destroyed holy Temple?  Explore the metaphor.  Let it sink in. And know that after the First Temple came the Second Temple.  And Judaism has survived without a Temple.  Perhaps your metaphorical Temple is not necessary after all.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 22, 2012 COMMON ERA

ASH WEDNESDAY

THE FEAST OF ERIC LIDDELL, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MISSIONARY TO CHINA

THE FEAST OF SAINT PRAETEXTATUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF ROUEN

THE FEAST OF RASMUS JENSEN, LUTHERAN MISSIONARY TO CANADA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS THALASSIUS, LIMNAEUS, AND MARON, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONKS

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http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/temples-consumed-by-fire/

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Devotion for January 3 (LCMS Daily Lectionary)   2 comments

Above:  The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, by Hans Holbein the Elder

The Kind Acts of the LORD

JANUARY 3, 2020

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Blessed Lord, who caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236

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The Assigned Readings:

Isaiah 63:1-14

Psalm 111 (Morning)

Psalms 107 and 15 (Evening)

Luke 2:21-40

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I will recount the kind acts of the LORD,

The praises of the LORD–

For all that the LORD has wrought for us,

The vast bounty to the House of Israel

That He bestowed upon them

According to His mercy and His great kindness.

–Isaiah 63:7, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures

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The “kind acts of the LORD” are part of the past, present, and future tenses.  Third Isaiah wrote of the past deeds of God.  Anna the Prophetess looked forward.  And each of us can ponder what God has done, is doing, and might do.  Consider the stories from the Bible.  Think about your experiences and those of friends and family members.

I can recount instances in which God has acted kindly and mightily in my life.  Sometimes these acts have been direct, but usually they have involved people.  And I suspect that I have been an instrument of God’s kindness toward others more often than I know.  You, O reader, probably have similar memories based on your experiences.

I wonder what God will do next and what role(s) you and I will play in it.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY22, 2012 COMMON ERA

ASH WEDNESDAY

THE FEAST OF ERIC LIDDELL, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MISSIONARY TO CHINA

THE FEAST OF SAINT PRAETEXTATUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF ROUEN

THE FEAST OF RASMUS JENSEN, LUTHERAN MISSIONARY TO CANADA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS THALLASSIUS, LIMNAEUS, AND MARON, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONKS

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http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/the-kind-acts-of-the-lord/

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Devotion for January 2 (LCMS Daily Lectionary)   9 comments

Above:  Adoration of the Shepherds, by Gerard van Hornthorst

Waiting for Complete Deliverance

JANUARY 2, 2020

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Blessed Lord, who caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236

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The Assigned Readings:

Isaiah 62:1-12

Psalm 48 (Morning)

Psalms 45 and 29 (Evening)

Luke 2:1-20

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Some Related Posts:

How Can I Fitly Greet Thee:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/how-can-i-fitly-greet-thee/

O Little Town of Bethlehem:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/12/09/o-little-town-of-bethlehem/

A Christmas Prayer:  Immanuel:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/18/a-christmas-prayer-immanuel/

O Blessed Mother:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/17/o-blessed-mother/

A Christmas Prayer:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/18/a-christmas-prayer/

A Christmas Prayer:  God of History:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/18/a-christmas-prayer-god-of-history/

Christmas Blessings:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/18/christmas-blessings/

A Christmas Prayer of Thanksgiving:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/18/a-christmas-prayer-of-thanksgiving/

The Hail Mary:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/25/the-hail-mary/

Joy to the World:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/12/15/joy-to-the-world/

Christmas Prayers of Praise and Adoration:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/12/20/christmas-prayers-of-praise-and-adoration/

Christmas Prayers of Dedication:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/12/20/christmas-prayers-of-dedication/

A Prayer of Thanksgiving for Christmas:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/a-prayer-of-thanksgiving-for-christmas/

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…Your Deliverer is coming!….

–Isaiah 62:11c, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures

The passage from Isaiah 62 addresses a conquered nation, one delivered by God and the Persians and living within the borders of the Persian Empire.  Redemption for the Jewish nation is partial as of Isaiah 62; full redemption will follow.

Likewise, in Luke 2, the birth of Jesus marks partial redemption.  The Roman Empire is still in power in Luke 2.  In fact, the Roman Empire was in power at the time of the writing of the Gospel of Luke, after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE.

The world remains a violent place, a site of injustice.  Our full redemption remains a matter of the future.  How it will come to pass is a matter for God to decide and to accomplish.  May we be faithful while we wait.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 22, 2012 COMMON ERA

ASH WEDNESDAY

THE FEAST OF ERIC LIDDELL, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MISSIONARY TO CHINA

THE FEAST OF SAINT PRAETEXTATUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF ROUEN

THE FEAST OF RASMUS JENSEN, LUTHERAN MISSIONARY TO CANADA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS THALASSIUS, LIMNAEUS, AND MARON, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONKS

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http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/waiting-for-complete-deliverance/

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Devotion for January 1 (LCMS Daily Lectionary)   7 comments

Above:  Saint John the Baptist

True Liberation

JANUARY 1, 2020

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Blessed Lord, who caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236

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The Assigned Readings:

Isaiah 61:1-11

Psalm 97 (Morning)

Psalms 99 and 8 (Evening)

Luke 1:57-80

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The spirit of the LORD is upon me,

Because the LORD has anointed me;

He has sent me as a herald of joy to the humble,

To bind up the wounded of heart,

To proclaim release to the captives,

Liberation to the imprisoned;

To proclaim a year of the LORD’s favor

And a day of vindication by our God….

–Isaiah 61:1-2, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures

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The text from Luke 1 echoes Isaiah 61.  In each case a prophet will proclaim a message from God, who “has visited his people” and liberated them (Luke 1:67, New Jerusalem Bible).  This seems like an excellent time to point out the obvious:  Post-Exilic Judea was part of the Persian Empire and Post-Hasmonean Judea was part of the Roman Empire.  The Persians were generally more friendly that the Romans, at least.

So what kind of liberation was this?  It was not political autonomy or independence.  No, this was spiritual liberation–freedom (with rules) to love and follow God in daily practices and attitudes.  Any lack of liberty–such as slavish legalism–was self-imposed.  This spiritual liberation did not–and does not–depend on outside political or legal forces.  In other words, this is an internalized liberation.  Many martyrs have exhibited it under great stress.  I have been writing hagiographies for my SUNDRY THOUGHTS weblog lately.  Again and again I have encountered examples of this pattern.  These martyrs still died, but they died as free men and women, even though they were prisoners.

Regardless of your circumstances, O reader, may you be free.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 22, 2012 COMMON ERA

ASH WEDNESDAY

THE FEAST OF ERIC LIDDELL, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MISSIONARY TO CHINA

THE FEAST OF SAINT PRAETEXTATUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF ROUEN

THE FEAST OF RASMUS JENSEN, LUTHERAN MISSIONARY TO CANADA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS THALASSIUS, LIMNAEUS, AND AND MARON, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONKS

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http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/true-liberation/

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Devotion for December 31 (LCMS Daily Lectionary)   6 comments

Above:  Magnificat

The Presence of God

DECEMBER 31, 2019

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Blessed Lord, who caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236

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The Assigned Readings:

Isaiah 60:1-22

Psalm 98 (Morning)

Psalms 45 and 96 (Evening)

Luke 1:39-56

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Some Related Posts:

O Blessed Mother:

https://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2010/10/06/o-blessed-mother/

The Hail Mary:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/25/the-hail-mary/

Feast of Saint Mary of Nazareth, Mother of God:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/02/13/feast-of-st-mary-of-nazareth-mother-of-god-august-15/

Prayers for the New Year:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/new-year/

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The Lutheran daily lectionary is doing something I did not expect:  It is placing after December 25 material which other lectionaries place in Advent.  Consider the Visitation and the Magnificat, for example.  They are classical Advent material.

Yet a refresher course is appropriate.  Christmas does not end on December 25; it begins then.  And the light of God had dawned upon us.  As we stand at the threshold of a new calendar year, may we seek to see God in those around us and to treat our fellow human beings accordingly.  May the words of Third Isaiah be true for us and those among whom God will place us:

No longer shall you need the sun

For light by day,

Nor the shining of the moon

For radiance [by night];

For the LORD shall be your light everlasting,

Your God shall be your glory.

–Isaiah 60:19, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures

Amen.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 22, 2012 COMMON ERA

ASH WEDNESDAY

THE FEAST OF ERIC LIDDELL, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MISSIONARY TO CHINA

THE FEAST OF SAINT PRAETEXTATUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF ROUEN

THE FEAST OF RASMUS JENSEN, LUTHERAN MISSIONARY TO CANADA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS THALASSIUS, LIMNAEUS, AND MARON, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONKS

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http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/the-presence-of-god/

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