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Stop the Bullying of Deadlines, Dead-end relationships! Have a Perfect Day!

John & Lindsey Biggs, C.S., St. Louis, Missouri
Posted Monday, October 18th, 2010

[Stop the Bullying of Deadlines, Dead-end relationships! Have a "Perfect Day"!]
CedarS Met for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on
"Probation after Death" for October 24, 2010
by John & Lindsey Biggs, both CS in Bend, OR
[bracketed italics by Warren Huff]]

[Editor's Note: The following application ideas for this week, and the Possible Sunday School Topics that follow, are offered primarily to help CEDARS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and demonstrate the great value of daily study and application of the Christian Science Bible lessons year-round, not just at camp! You can sign up to have them emailed to you free -- in English by Monday each week, or by each Wednesday you can get a FREE TRANSLATION in French thanks to Pascal or Denise, in German thanks to Helga or in Spanish thanks to a team of Ana, Erick, Claudia and Patricio. YOU CAN SIGN UP at www.cedarscamps.org/newsletters]
 
This week's Bible Lesson shows us that a victory over materiality and death in all its forms can be ours right here and now! Jesus triumphed over every limitation or claim of matter. He even overcame death through his resurrection and ascension!   He sure didn't allow himself to be "bullied" by the materiality of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (This is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Week in the United States.) This lesson shows us ways to keep materiality from bullying us and others. We can rejoice that we are fully spiritual right now, the beloved and perfect daughters and sons of God -- just as Jesus was! And Jesus loved mankind enough not to just standby [while our spiritual joy is abused] but to show us the way [to progress "more and more unto the perfect day." (GT)]  We get to follow his example and demonstrate each moment God, Spirit's, allness and perfection and goodness - and nothing can get in our way.  (We can't be bullied!)
 
Golden Text (GT)
"The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day" (New International Version).
Righteousness [- or right thinking and acting -] leads us in the path of Life. To grow spiritually is to gain a clearer sense of the Life that is eternal and immortal, and is not confined to flesh. We get to see and live that Life right now - no waiting until death! The kingdom of God is here and now. "I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord" (Psalms 118:17). 
[The prayers of the Chilean miners, their families and the world have given them a wonderful "new lease on life" - a probation after what looked like certain death and dead-end after-effects. May our prayers and theirs let their lives (and ours) continue to day-by-day declare and demonstrate the omnipotent power of divine Love.]
 
Responsive Reading (RR)
Jesus overcame the world and all materiality. He showed us we can too! "Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low..." (Isa 40:4); Mrs. Eddy states: "Every valley of sin must be exalted, and every mountain of selfishness be brought low..." (S&H 61:9-10). All materiality must and will be destroyed so that God, Spirit, is seen as "all in all" (I Cor. 15:28)! 
[My mom, Ruth Huff opened the Bible at random to chapter 35 in Isaiah as the mission for "the cedars of Lebanon, which He hath planted" (Ps. 104:16). Our year-round mission includes Mets and CedarS being called "the way of holiness" - of wholeness and healing (RR, Isa. 35:8).]
 [For insights on Old Testament blueprints of the crucifixion "according to the scriptures" (RR, I Cor. 15:3,4), check out the CD called "The Walk to Emmaus" by Bible scholar Cobbey Crisler as available from the Daycroft School Foundation.]
 
Section 1 - "Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God..." (Rev. 12:10)
Death is nothing to be excited about. This section dives us right into WHY this concept is important and why not to be impressed with death.  [As Country singer Shania Twain sings: "That don't impress me much."I love how present citation B-1 is: "The Lord IS my light and my salvation...the Lord IS the strength of my life..." We're not waiting for God, salvation, and the kingdom of heaven to become any more present than it already is. Many people believe that heaven is a glorified place and state that comes only after death. Through studying Christian Science, it's made clear that "There is but one way to heaven, harmony, and Christ in divine Science shows us this way" (S-5).  In her spiritual interpretation of the Lord's Prayer, Mrs. Eddy makes it clear that "Thy kingdom IS come; Thou art ever-present" (S&H 16:31). So it's obvious that "Death is not a stepping-stone to Life..." (S-1)  But what about that paycheck coming next week? Will you only be able to feel supplied and secure when that comes? Are you looking forward to the next football or soccer game or volleyball or tennis match so you can redeem yourself and be assured of how athletic and capable you are? Perhaps you're anticipating the day after Election Day, when you can FINALLY experience governmental harmony and peace. Stop waiting for ANYTHING that is outside this present moment, before you can feel at peace, whole, and satisfied!
 
We read in citation B-3 that "when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have out on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying this is written, Death is swallowed up in victory." Every moment is an opportunity to "put on the new man" (Eph. 4:24) and see how God truly created His idea, man. Any temptation to wait for something to happen before we can move forward is an imposition on the present fact of God, ever-present and omnipotent. What a wonderful gift - God, all good, is here, now!
 
Section 2 - the Christ reforms and redeems us from any materiality
God's law lovingly casts out anything in us that does not reflect Him, Spirit. This Bible Lesson continually points out that any materiality must "die". Anything that is unlike God, Spirit, must and will be destroyed from our entire human experience.
 
The story in Luke (B-6) reveals that Peter still needed to grow spiritually. And we can all think about what denying the Christ meant and symbolized. Do we ever deny the Christ in our daily experience? Peter certainly was afraid because he didn't want to have the same persecution happen to him that happened to Jesus. But what a contrast to how boldly Peter speaks to the crowds in the book of Acts (and the beautiful healing in Section 6).  Referring to Jesus and his disciples Mrs. Eddy says, "Through all the disciples experienced, they became more spiritual and understood better what the Master had taught.  His resurrection was also their resurrection.  It helped them to raise themselves and others from spiritual dulness and blind belief in God into the perception of infinite possibilitiesAnchor" (S-25: S&H 34:18-23). The disciples lost their fear of death when Jesus proved that life is eternal and spiritual. They were then able to speak and act boldly and convert thousands of people with the "good news". What fears do we entertain that prevent us from boldly speaking and living the Christ, Truth, in our daily walk and conversation? Sure, we have all made mistakes, but that didn't prevent Peter from being fit to lead the Christian movement. "Progress is born of experience" (S-6) and that experience and progress enabled Peter to be able to be a leader of the Church. Are any past mistakes bullying you toprevent you from moving forward and being a great leader? If Peter can do it - [can overcome the persistent bully of self-belittlement for past mistakes] - so can you!
 
[I love The Message paraphrase of citation B-6, Luke 22:32: "I've prayed for you in particular that you not give in or give out. When you have come through the time of testing, turn to your companions and give them a fresh start."  "This period will be of longer or shorter duration according to the tenacity of error" (S-13).  As you wrestle with past mistakes and supposed character flaws and with the angel messages in this week's lesson that sometime bring discomfort (S-8), don't let them go until they bless you. Be more tenacious than any bullying thoughts and eagerly "drop the past to seize the now" as we do in CedarS Bible Lands Park's "Tire Traversal" - to demonstrate "forgetting those things which are behind." (See S-14 in the 3rd section, which quotes Philippians 3:13).]       
 
Section 3 - Never fear, Life is here! (and Truth, Love, Principle, Soul, Spirit, and Mind!)
Citation B-7 is an excerpt from a whole psalm that is praising and trusting in God. Outside the chalk markings it says, "Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should arise against me, in this will I be confident" (Ps. 27:3).  I'll trust God, no matter what! Can you say this, in the face of any circumstance that tries to rise up?
 
No matter what claims of mortality presented themselves, Jesus knew that his Father is infinite and that Life never departs. It's very interesting how this truth is illustrated to others. In citation B-10, Mary thinks that the body of Jesus has been taken away and she asks the gardener where Jesus was. At that point, this 'gardener' said her name, and she "turned herself" and saw him for he truly was: Jesus! The Christ is the message of comfort and healing, always calling to us, and when we listen, we hear the truth of God's love. No matter what suggestions are out there, we can always listen to, and be fully informed by, the Christ. Mrs. Eddy says "Existence continues to be a belief of corporeal sense until the Science of being is reached" (S-13). Let's make sure to really listen to the Christ to hear the truth of existence, instead of listening to corporeal sense that is body-based, matter-based, limit-based....
 
Section 4 - We have eternal, spiritual Life right now! No waiting!
No, Jesus was not a spirit or a ghost when he resurrected. Mrs. Eddy defines resurrection as "Spiritualization of thought; a new and higher idea of immortality, or spiritual existence; material belief yielding to spiritual understanding" (S&H 593:9-11).  Jesus showed and proved that spiritual life and existence is all that there is, and no hatred, antagonism, or resistance can possibly end or even touch spiritual Life or Love, which is God.  Life is God and it cannot be hurt or damaged! He showed that death is nothing; there is only the belief of death because death is never the experience of the person. Have we subtly bought into the belief that at some time or somewhere life will be better or more spiritual than it is right now?   No! Life is God, good, right now. Spiritual being and existence is all there really is because there is only one God and one creation. All the Love that ever will be present is present right now. All the health that can ever be is ours right now - all the freedom, movement, victory, and vitality are here and now because God, good, is the only Life!
 
Section 5 - Trust God's love by expressing all that He is
Citation B-14 is a wonderful promise to wake up with, to go to bed with, and for all the bits in between! Love IS here, God's grace and harmony IS present. Are we ever a little like Peter, in citation B-15, proclaiming over and over again how much we love God... so now what? We must live this Love. In Miscellaneous Writings, Mrs. Eddy has an article entitled "Love."  She writes, "I make strong demands on love, call for active witnesses to prove it, and noble sacrifices and grand achievements as its results....  Love cannot be a mere abstraction, or goodness without activity and power" (250:16). Jesus said, "Feed my sheep." Live the love which you profess. When tempted to try very hard to have a healing, something I've enjoyed pondering is the idea of giving a healing, being a healing. Let your life, today, be a witness to the fact that Love is present, here. "Grace and Truth are potent beyond all other...  methods" (S-20). In II Corinthians 12:9, we read, "My grace is sufficient for thee." We are secure in the divine promise of present Life and good, so we can confidently go about following the directive given in citation S-22. We don't scorn Peter for his continual protestations without proof, and we shouldn't beat ourselves up for the learning experiences we've had. Let citation S-25 be an encouragement for you, too. Sometimes I like to think of my day as a parable through which I can see God's love unfolding in my consciousness. It helps me feel more secure in this moment to know that even while I'm figuring things out, heaven still is here, now. I'm much more thrilled about working for something that I know is here than I would be to work for something which may not come to fruition. That's one of the beautiful promises of this whole Bible Lesson: that heaven is present and we're all just discovering that, through studying Christian Science. We're not making Christian Science true - we're living the fact that it is true and that God is here.
 
Section 6 - Love must be lived!  What a great day!
Well, Peter got his chance (and many more!) to demonstrate his love. He healed a beloved member of the community in citation B-18, and he did it without calling for praise for himself. What a transformation he has had since we saw him in section 2. Jesus' resurrection certainly was Peter's resurrection too. The belief that a "mortal man" is the "real essence of manhood" (S-26) was destroyed and Peter was able to witness true manhood (and womanhood) and the truth about Life and Love clearly, and Tabitha was healed.
 
Love simply is. It doesn't need banners proclaiming it and we don't need to jump through a hoop to see Love. We can take that fact and expand it: We don't need to jump through a hoop called death to find heaven or peace, we don't need to wait for that paycheck to find security, we don't need to regret our past which (we think) is preventing us from good now. Citation S-29 is crystal clear. If we ask ourselves these questions, and strive to live them, we won't have time to fear tomorrow. We won't have fear of bullies and we won't give in to temptations to be a bully. We won't accept that something outside of God's grace could satisfy us. What WILL we do?! We can accept the promise of citation S-26 in trusting that mortality (sickness, limits, sin, fear, hurtful family or social dynamics, disaster...) is not the essence of man or God's government. Citation S-28 is a beautiful illustration of a goal for the week, to see that indestructible man.
 
In recognition of "National Bullying Prevention Awareness Week" we can recognize every opportunity to demonstrate the immediate presence of harmony - don't wait till there are other folks watching, or till you know more, or till it's sunny out, or till a new crop of government officials is voted in. And demonstrate it beyond this week, too! No expression of grace is too small and no healing is undeserved. This is God's " perfect day" (GT & S-29) - let's go see it!

[PSST-Overcome ‘self-centered smallness' and pass your test of love! See Section 5]
Possible Sunday School Topics
for the Christian Science Bible Lesson:
"Probation After Death"
for Oct. 24, 2010
by Steve Henn,
St. Louis, MO [with bracketed italics by Warren Huff]
 
Possible Topics to cover:
The "big idea" this week is "unlimiting thought." [Divine Love knows no limits!] Work with your students to see the limitations they have unwittingly accepted into their thought. ["Limit" or "boundary" was the original meaning of the Latin word "morte" (death) as Christine Irby Williams brought out to start her inspiring Bible talk--"Captivity Captive"--given at the 2009 Annual Meeting of the Christian Science Joint Institutional Committee of Missouri.  Christine also explored Mrs. Eddy's one-liner: "In league with material sense, mortals take limited views of all things." (S&H 255:12-14) She closed by saying: "Self-centered smallness is lost in God's allness"; and "I love you waaaaaaaaay too much to let you get away with that" (view of yourself!); and ‘Behold I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it'! (Translation by CIW: "You are never stuck!!!!") ciwilliams@earthlink.net]
 
The first limit to consider is the subject itself. Is there a period of probation after death? Why do we have this as a lesson subject twice per year? Whether there is probation after death or not ...how does that impact our lives right now? [How about the probation after what looked like certain death and dead-end after-effects for the Chilean miners? Discuss how their prayers and those of their families and the world have given them a wonderful "new lease on life".  May our prayers and theirs let their lives (and ours) continue to declare and demonstrate day-by-day the omnipotent power of divine Love that overcomes all limits and false predictions.]
 
Light: How does light relate to Christ? Why is it so often used as a symbol of truth or life? What sources of light do your students have in their daily lives? What are the biggest sources of light they've seen/experienced?
 
Death - expand this definition - don't be fooled into thinking this lesson only applies to "the big D". What does it mean to "swallow up death in victory"? Is that a present promise? How can that apply to our daily lives? [and to our "little d's"- dead-lines, dead-end relationships, dead-end jobs, dead legs or dead arms after a workout, ...]
 
Responsive Reading (RR): - I Cor. 15:19 - "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." Spend some time unpacking it with your students. Is Christ's influence on our lives conditional?
 
Section 1:
Citations B2 and B3 seem to contradict each other. What is going on here? Why the contradiction? Speak with your students about reasoning from a right basis - certain truths to the material senses can appear to be contradictory; but when we place the lens of divine Science before our gaze, such contradictions vanish into clarity. How can Truth explain this apparent contradiction?
 
Citations S1-S5 appear to discuss the process of death and dying. Can they apply to a more immediate part of our lives?  How? Must we wait until we're dealing with death directly for this section to be relevant to our lives? Consider broadening the definition of death with your students. Consider also how we live our daily lives. Do your students pay close attention to the cause-effect relationship of their reliance on God, good?
 
Section 2:
Citation B6 - Is Christian Science only a sweet treat for your students? Do they look to it and cherish it only in times of ease and comfort? What about times when their faith "fails" them? Do they think Christian Science has failed them? Perhaps we too often attempt to avoid the trials and tears that come along with committing to a radical way of life. Might your students think that it's not a good sign to fail or to cry? Look at Peter - how he wept after faltering. And yet he rose to be the true rock that Jesus spoke of. Can we have that humility?
 
Citation S6 - How can we best put off the old man - except we feel the tears and suffering this false character engenders; or learn through Science the illusion of joy the old man presents. Either way, we must go up - how will your students best progress? 
 
Here we see a definition of death that certainly can be applied before experiencing death of the human body. Do your students see the connection to their own lives?
Citations S7-8 - How honest are your students with their own daily connection do God? Do they examine themselves on a daily basis; are they willing to cease denying the truth or mocking "the lifelong sacrifice which goodness makes for the destruction of evil?"
 
Section 3:
CitationB7 - Do your students see the Lord's house as beautiful? How are they distracted from this beauty? What benefits do they see both inside and outside of His house? Which benefits are real, which are illusions - put another way, which are unlimiting, and which limit our experience?
 
Citations B8-10 - What does Christ's resurrection have to do with our own experience on a daily basis? Are we able to recognize the Christ in front of us [although he may seem to be a gardener or others who cross our paths regularly?] When Love calls our name, do we reply "master"? Or do we question our ears, our eyes?
 
Citation S12 - Jesus' physical condition after the crucifixion was unchanged. Did that call into question his ability to heal or prove the omnipotence of Life? How often do we look to the body for proof of the divine law? Jesus' experience begs us to reverse this cycle - lean on God, Truth and let the body correspond.
 
Citation S14 - Who are we? Ask your students what ingredients make them up. Are they made up of experiences, belongings, titles? How can they forget what is behind if it continues to define them?  What new ways can they define themselves that will afford them the freedom of forgetting past ways of being?
 
Section 4:
Citation B12 - Does the appearance of Truth trouble your students? Are they willing to accept the incredible possibilities that Mind possesses?  Or must they tremble and quake in the face of omnipotent good until it appears materially before them?
 
Citations S16-18 - Can your students identify the role of mortal mind in their lives? Since mortal, in one sense, means "limited" - how do they take away this limited way of thinking to gain the freedoms available in Science?
 
Section 5: [Try this as an "open-book test" of divine love.]
Citation B15 - Look up [in Strong's Exhaustive Concordance] the word love [as John records it being said by both Jesus and Peter several times in this citation]. In the two Greek words translated as love [agape, or divine love; and philia, or brotherly love], you'll find that as Jesus repeats his question, he [adjusts to the brotherly level of love that Peter was willing to demonstrate at that time--coming] closer to the one who denied him three times, rather than demanding that Peter get it all in one instance and ascend with him. 
[Cobbey Crisler in A Visit with the Beloved Disciple: Gospel of John offers insights into passing the test of divine love and on how Jesus probed Peter's love: (Click here for a link to a Daycroft School Foundation Order Form)
"John 21:15 ‘do you love me more than these?' It's obvious that Peter is being tested. ... Perhaps here he is being given an opportunity to redeem himself in three tests.' ...  Agape, according to one commentator and lexicographer, conveys the following, ‘To desire good for the one you esteem. If I should choose to love you at the level of
agape, look what is required of me. First, I must esteem you. That's not patting you on the head (as if implicitly saying, ‘you're down there and I'm up here, and I'm going to try to help you.')  That's eye-to-eye respect and esteem. Can one really have love anywhere without that quality of respect? I must esteem you. But that, too, could be a passive sense of love, without the other part of the definition which this one commentator had provided.  To desire good for one I esteem, I must be actively employed in desiring good for them or I am not operating at the level of agape. ...  Jesus says, ‘Agapao?'   But Peter responds in the original text, ‘Yes, Lord you know that I love thee.' But he uses the word ‘phileo.' Maybe that explains Jesus' repetition.  ...
"John 21:16, He says again, Simon ‘Agapao?' Peter says again, ‘Phileo.' J.B. Phillips translation gives a kind of lead-balloon effect of Peter's response. He says, ‘Yes, Lord, you know I want to be your friend.'
"John 21:17, The third time Jesus asks the question, he does not say agapao any more. Coming to where Peter is, and attempting to build there, he uses the verb phileo, ... If we use Phillips' translation, Jesus has simply said, ‘Alright, Peter will you be my friend?'  Peter says, ‘Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you. And Jesus said unto him, Feed my sheep.'
"That instruction to Peter, ‘to feed the lambs,' and then not the first time ‘to feed my sheep,' but rather to ‘tend, or guard my little sheep,' according to the Vatican manuscript, and finally, ‘Feed my sheep.' This is an assignment for which Peter obviously qualifies and for which he just as obviously fulfilled in the Book of Acts." (See Acts 9:36-41 (B18)]
Help your students see and feel that the Christ is here and now supporting them in their own endeavors [and lifting their love to the divine level of esteeming and actively desiring good for all]. 
 
Citation B16 - Even in the midst of sin, grace is much more prosperous. What is grace to your students? What is the power of grace? Why does it matter - or does it matter to them?
 
Citation S20 - Easily one of my top 10 - this citation challenges us to think anew. How do your students express grace or Truth? Do they feel powerful in doing so? How can they harness the power of these two?
 
Citation S24 - What would life be like if we did not give any credence to death? If injury and sickness had no power in our thought, wouldn't we feel much freer? Students discuss frequently the desire to be free, out from under the oppressive rules of society, parents, school, coaches, teachers. In reality, their true freedom comes from learning this very lesson.
 
Section 6:  
Citation B19 - Are we grateful? Do we see the unlimited power of gratitude? Help your students see what gratitude declares - how it expresses what we truly feel is powerful. If we're grateful for rest, do we really rest in God? If we're grateful for love, is that the love of Love? Help them become confident in the love they have for God and the gratitude this love engenders.
 
Citation S28 - There is a lot of big talk in this lesson about the last trump, or the day of resurrection - how do these connect with your students who are dealing, not with death, but with tests and relationships? How can citations like this one apply directly to their lives as they are right now?
 
Citation S29 - Are we living this life?   Do we demonstrate this power?

[CedarS weekly Metaphysical Newsletters are provided at no charge to the 1,200 campers and staff who were blessed this summer at CEDARS--as well as to thousands of CEDARS alumni, families, Sunday School teachers and friends who request it, or who find it weekly on our website or through CS Directory. But, current and planned gifts are much-needed: to cover the costs of running this "free" service; to provide camperships to make inspirational opportunities possible for our deserving youth; and to complete Stage2 of Bible Lands Park (BLP).  
You now can--and
we hope you now will--use your Visa and Mastercard as well as Discovery Card and American Express and virtual checks to make monthly and one-time donations.
Your support is always tax-deductible and welcomed--but during the economic downturn, your help has been and continues to be especially needed and appreciated! To support CedarS work you can make a charitable donation to our 501C-3 tax-exempt, charitable organization in many wonderful ways.
Thank you for considering writing a monthly check payable to CedarS Camps and mailing it to: CedarS Camps, 19772 Sugar Drive, Lebanon, MO 65536; or for calling Warren or Gay Huff at (636) 394-6162 to discuss gifts of securities or property you are considering giving to benefit CedarS.
 
  
[Camp Director's Note: This sharing is the latest in an ongoing, 10-year series of CedarS Bible Lesson "Mets" (Metaphysical application ideas) contributed weekly by a rotation of CedarS Resident Practitioners and occasionally by other metaphysicians. (To keep the flow of the practitioner's ideas intact and to allow for more selective printing "Possible Sunday School Topics" come in a subsequent email.) These weekly offerings are intended to encourage further study and application of ideas in the lesson and to invigorate Sunday School participation by students and by the budding teachers on our staff. Originally sent JUST to my Sunday School students and to campers, staff and CedarS families who wanted to continue at home and in their home Sunday Schools the same type of focused Lesson study, application and inspiration they had felt at camp, CedarS lesson "mets" are in no way meant to be definitive or conclusive or in any way a substitute for daily study of the lesson. The thoughts presented are the inspiration of the moment and are offered to give a bit more dimension and background as well as new angles (and angels) on the daily applicability of some of the ideas and passages being studied. The weekly Bible Lessons are copyrighted by the Christian Science Publishing Society and are printed in the Christian Science Quarterly as available at Christian Science Reading Rooms or online at eBibleLesson.com or myBibleLesson.com. The citations referenced (i.e.B-1 and S-28) from this week's Bible Lesson in the "Met" (Metaphysical application ideas) are taken from the Bible (B-1 thru B-24) and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy (S-1 thru S-30). The Bible and Science and Health are the ordained pastor of the Churches of Christ, Scientist. The Bible Lesson is the sermon read in Christian Science church services throughout the world. The Lesson-Sermon speaks individually through the Christ to everyone, providing unique insights and tailor-made applications for each one. We are glad you requested this metaphysical sharing and hope that you find some of the ideas helpful in your daily spiritual journey, in your deeper digging in the books and in closer bonding with your Comforter and Pastor.]

Enjoy!
Warren Huff, Executive Director   director@cedarscamps.org]

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