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Break Free from the Confines of Material Supposition!

Craig L. Ghislin, C.S., Glen Ellyn (Bartlett), IL
Posted Monday, November 29th, 2010

Break Free from the Confines of Material Supposition!
CedarS MET, Metaphysical Application Ideas for: God the Only Cause and Creator
The Christian Science Bible Lesson for November 29-December 5, 2010
by Craig L. Ghislin, C.S., Glen Ellyn, Illinois [with bracketed italics by Warren Huff]

[Editor's Note: The following application ideas for this week, and the Possible Sunday School Topics that will 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, 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]
 
In a recent installment of the CBS television show "60 Minutes," microbiologist J. Craig Venter explained how he and his team were the first to create a synthetic living cell. "The bacteria, which is similar to one found in the intestines of goats, was designed on a computer, manufactured in the laboratory, and gets its genetic instructions from a synthetic chromosome made by man, not nature."
 
‘It's alive and self-replicating. That means it can indefinitely grow and make copies of itself,' Venter explained." He went on to say, "DNA is the software of life. There's no question about it, And the key to evolution of life on this planet and now to the key to the future of life on this planet is understanding how to write that software."
 
One of his critics was quoted as saying, "He's trying to short-circuit millions of years of evolution and create his own version of a second genesis. It's the height of hubris. It's irresponsible.  And he can't tell you it's going to be safe."  Venter laughed it off saying he took the first part as "a compliment," and felt that what he was doing was safe even if others might try to do evil with it.
 
Finally came the big question, and the most outrageous answer I have ever heard: "...do you believe in God?" Kroft asked.
 
"No," Venter replied. "I believe the universe is far more wonderful than just assuming it was made by some higher power.  I think the fact that these cells are software-driven machines and that software is DNA and that truly the secret of life is writing software, is pretty miraculous."
 
How can anyone conceive of anything "more wonderful" than God?
 
Material science may believe that matter has always existed and that it formed into planets and evolved life on its own.  In the Golden Text we find the statement that denies the belief that matter has always existed.  Here, everything finds its existence and cause in God.  Rather than material elements pre-existing, traditional religious thought sees John as declaring all things are "made" or brought into being by God.
 
So God made all that was made, and nothing is made without Him; but, what did He make? Did God make matter or sickness?  This is where Christian Science departs from traditional theology.  This week's Lesson clears up common misconceptions about God and creation, and the result is nothing less than wonderful!
 
Human thought tends to either leave God completely out of creation, as just mentioned above, or makes God responsible for everything good and bad.  The Responsive Reading is a glorious hymn of praise, recognizing God as the Cause, supplier and protector of all that exists.  It is as important to know what God did not make as to know what He did make.  The works of God are marvelous, righteous, and good.  Understanding the difference between divine creation and human concoction frees us from the fetters of false human law and conjecture.  It opens the doors to heaven and our true relationship with God.

Section 1: Creator Defined
While traditional Christianity believes the WORD or LOGOS, citation B1 refers to the man Jesus, the word LOGOS actually means the thought, and the thought expressed. The divine idea is the thought of God. Without that thought nothing was made that was made. The "thought expressed" is the spiritual creation as a whole-the expression of that idea. Jesus was the highest expression of the divine idea. As we use words to express our thoughts to others, the Mind of God was revealed to mankind through the LOGOS or WORD, as manifested in Christ Jesus. But this doesn't mean Jesus created anything. God is the only creator.
 
The spiritual definition of Creator in citation S1 makes it clear that the only animating Principle of the universe is God, the self-existent, perfect, and eternal. Our textbook points out as well, that not a single atom or element opposite to God was ever made. So rather than thinking that God made everything including matter, both good and bad, we can reason that since God made everything and everything He made must be like Him, anything not like Him was never made.
 
Section 2: The Answers to All Inquiries are Found in God
When inquiring about man's origin or status, there is only one place to look-to God. While some scholars translate Isaiah's words in citation B2 into a question, the King James version definitely treats this passage as a statement of privilege. God invites man to inquire of Him regarding events and outcomes; man is even invited to "command" God. Nineteenth century Theologian Albert Barnes says these verses set forth three main points:
 
1. That God alone could direct future events, and give information respecting them.
2. That instead of complaining of his allotments, they should humbly inquire of him in regard to their design, and the proper manner of meeting them; and
3. That if they were made the subject of humble, fervent, believing prayer, he would order them so as to promote their welfare, and would furnish them grace to meet them in a proper manner.
The thought here is that God alone orders and directs the life of man.
 
Science and Health confirms that "There is but one creator and one creation" (S2). This creation isn't in material form, but is idea. God's creation-His ideas-are represented by the tiniest particle to the largest galaxy. While it is common for physical scientists to view the immensity of the universe and conclude that man is fairly insignificant, Science and Health states that even when considering infinity, man is the highest idea of creation.
 
Section 3: God Didn't Make Matter
In the December 2010 issue of Smithsonian, it is reported that a previously unknown carnivore has been recently discovered in Madagascar. It's a "mongoose-like creature" with sharp teeth for crushing shellfish. "It's almost like a ferret becoming an otter" wrote one of the discoverers. It's amazing that even in our modern times, new creatures are still being discovered. When the psalmist pondered "how manifold" were God's works (B3), he probably hadn't the slightest idea of the multitude of creatures there are. "Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created." In other words, new races and species derive their being from God "as really as those did which were first formed by His hand, and the work of creation is constantly going on" (Barnes). 
 
Mrs. Eddy understood that Spirit, God, "never created matter" (S3). Given the entrenched, traditional view that God made all the earth, people often overlook what our Leader is actually saying. She follows the reasoning we mentioned earlier. God couldn't make anything unlike Himself; and God is Spirit. There is nothing resembling matter in God, therefore, he didn't make matter. Mrs. Eddy found God to be the only cause (S4). There could be no reality in anything that didn't proceed from this cause. Even when considering the magnitude of creation that we perceive, the only reality is the spiritual fact.
 
Section 4: God Is the Only Father
Before creating the first synthetic living cell mentioned earlier, J. Craig Venter was the first one to nail down a draft of the human genome, and the first complete version of the human genome. He, and others, sincerely believe that our existence and future is entirely dependent on DNA. The Scriptures utterly oppose this. "It is he that hath made us..." (B5). Jesus taught and recognized God as the only Father and Author of man (B6). DNA is not God. The power to create belongs eminently to God. [My favorite acrostic for DNA is Does Not Apply!]
 
Our Leader echoes the Master, "Man is neither self-made nor made by mortals" (S5).   In our times, so much weight is given to heredity. It seems that the evidence for man's proclivity to the ills of his ancestors is insurmountable. There are so many different varieties and possibilities even within one family that nobody can accurately predict how anyone's life will turn out based on heredity. Even from a genetic standpoint, researchers have found that going back only a few generations, hundreds of people could be related that have never met and are living continents apart. Any way you look at it, as fixed as the genetic code appears to be, each one of us is unique and created by God. We have no mortal heritage.

Section 5: Reproduction Is Governed By God
As geneticists attempt to discount the divine origins of man and in their arrogance shape future generations according to their beliefs, fertility specialists have intervened in the reproductive process. [My favorite acrostic for EGO is Edging God Out.] Leaving God out of the picture, they basically think they can establish, recreate, or even improve upon the natural order of things. Abraham and Sarah were well past what are believed to be child-bearing years, yet this was no obstacle to God (B8, B9).  The psalmist reveres children as evidence of God's blessing (B10).  As Barnes puts it, "The idea is, that everything which we value, or which we desire, is a gift from God, and is to be received as from him, and to be acknowledged as his gift."
 
No material law or condition can dictate the multiplication of God's ideas.  Reproduction is a manifestation of God's power (S7).  Reproduction is the reflection of the infinite unfoldment of God's idea (S8, S9).  Mortal belief "inverts" God's spiritual creation and "calls ideas material."  The bottom line is God is in control and no matter how hard humans may try, they can never usurp God's place as creator.
 
Section 6: Breaking the Mortal Pattern
Human thought always reasons from a false, limited standpoint.  It assumes that what it perceives is a fixed fact.  Everything it conceives as possible is built on a false premise.
Such was the speculation of the Sadducees regarding the afterlife-predicated on the assumption that life as it is now, will continue the same hereafter (B12).  It would indeed be puzzling if one who married more than once was expected to continue the same relationships hereafter.  But Jesus tells us that there is no marrying or giving in marriage in reality.  In other words, in the resurrection, the pattern of human generation is broken.
 
Mrs. Eddy writes: "Mortals can never understand God's creation while believing that man is a creator" (S11).  Man is neither born into matter nor does he die out of it.  The question of the child to his parent, "Do you teach that Spirit creates materially, or do you declare that Spirit is infinite, therefore matter is out of the question?" is one that we may ask ourselves.  In both of these citations (S11, S12) we read that the real appears in proportion as the human belief disappears.

Section 7: Purify Our Present Circumstance
How can we break the pattern?  By purifying and spiritualizing the current situation.  Some may erroneously conclude that since, in spiritual reality, there is no need for marriage, that there is therefore, no need for marriage in our present experience either.  Not so.  The Bible acknowledges that we need to learn little by little-moving to the next step after mastering the one we're on (B13).  Marriage keeps us moral.  The Lord blesses the family unit and the prosperity of the church depends on the continuing morality of its adherents (B15).  Marriage is biblically recognized as honorable and we shouldn't be influenced by immoral trends of the times.(B16).  It is normal for men and women to marry; and there is nothing unholy about it.  The idea of celibacy as a holy discipline is a human invention.  
 
Mrs. Eddy knew that we can't just jump into spirituality (S13).  She recognized that disregarding marriage at this point would lead to more immorality (S14).  Make no mistake about it. We Christian Scientists are expected to honor the marriage covenant and allow the Christ to purify our thoughts and acts until we understand man's spiritual nature, therefore naturally rising above sensuality (S15, S16).

Section 8: Imperfection Is No Part of Creation
Everything God made was "very good" (B17).  There isn't anything harmful, imperfect, or susceptible to illness or pestilence.  In the story of the woman bent over with a spirit of infirmity (B18) commentaries almost always conclude that her illness was the result of sin.  Where does sickness originate?  For those not inclined toward religion, sickness is the result of germs, infections, or genetics.  The religiously minded assume that God either allows the sickness, or sends it as a punishment for sin.  There are some others who follow pseudo-spiritual ideologies who feel that sickness is a result of some imbalance in thought or body.  Christian Science does not accept any valid reason for sickness.
 
In Science, God is understood to be all good; therefore any evidence of illness or deformity is illusion (S17).  This is a powerful point-God simply does not send sickness, he destroys it (S18).  As the Golden Text states, if God didn't make it, it was never made.

Section 9: The Body Is Not Self-Governed
Human thought generally assumes that the body is in charge of itself.  How often do we hear things like, "my stomach can't take that" or "my strength isn't what it used to be" or "you have to pay attention to what your body tells you."  All of these statements are mistakes.  The body doesn't know anything, and has no power to speak for itself or dictate its prospects.  Paul urges transformation of the body (B19).  He tells us to take charge of the body and bring it into subjection (B20).  As Matthew Henry put it, "The body must not be suffered to rule."
 
Mrs. Eddy reminds us that the body is no more than the expression of a mortal belief.  Rather than the body embracing or being a vehicle for us, she says we embrace our body in our thoughts; and rather than let the body dictate to us, we should control the body with "thoughts of health" (S19).  Instead of allowing the body to tell us what we can and can't do, or whether or not we are healthy, we should reject thoughts that lead to sickness as we would keep unwelcome intruders out of our house (S20).  We never have to sit back and accept whatever the body tries to tell us.  Each of us has God-given authority to "take possession" of our body and "govern its feeling and action" (S21). This seems impossible if you believe that cause is in body, but when you understand that God is good and the only Cause, you will never be in submission to your body again.
 
Section 10: Mind, Not Matter, Heals
In this Lesson, the healing of the woman who touched Jesus' garment (B21) is representative of the futility of medical practice.  Matthew Henry writes, "It is common with people not to apply to Christ till they have tried in vain all other helpers, and find them, as certainly they will, physicians of no value."  The woman spent all that she had on physicians, and was worse than when she started.  Adam Clarke writes, "No person will wonder at this account, when he considers the therapeutics of the Jewish physicians in reference to hemorrhages, especially of the kind with which this woman was afflicted."  He goes on to quote a rabbi who lists five or six possible treatments for this malady, each one more ridiculous than the other.  He concludes, "from some of these nostrums it is evident the woman could not be bettered, and from some others it is as evident that she must be made worse; and from all together it is indubitably certain that she must have suffered many things..."  Some of the modern treatments for disease seem no less barbaric, or outlandish.  It isn't uncommon for the side-effects of the so-called cure to be worse than the disease.

Science and Health states that Jesus understood that it was mortal mind that needed correcting not matter (S22).  While we can appreciate that the majority of those in the medical field really want to help people, the whole medical approach is contrary to spiritual reality.  The modern airwaves, magazines, and internet, are filled with descriptions of disease and "advertisements of quackery" (S24).  There was a television comedy spoof on a well-known commercial for a bone disease drug that had a ring of truth to it.  The punch line was "we want to make you afraid."  Most medical advertisements seek to do just that (S25).
 
This may seem to be too radical for some, but our Textbook is clear: "If we understood the control of Mind over body, we should put no faith in material means" (S26).  And this statement is unequivocal: "There can be no healing except by this Mind, however much we trust a drug or any other means towards which human faith or endeavor is directed."  If we're having trouble in our spiritual healing efforts, that doesn't mean Christian Science doesn't work.  It simply means, we need to better understand that "Only the action of Truth, Life, and Love can give harmony."
 
Section 11: Mind Is the Source of Infinite Talent
There is an aspect of both old theology and modern genetics that we sometimes overlook-talent.  Old theology tends to inculcate that nobody is very special.  It wants to pull everyone down to the lowest common denominator.  If someone exhibits rare talent, they are told that it is vain to think they are special.  In a different way, genetics says you're either born with it or your not, i.e. some people just aren't cut out to be mathematicians or athletes.  One way or another, the world is divided into haves and have nots. The biblical approach recognizes that every talent we have is from God.  Everyone has unique abilities that are precious and worthy of expression (B22, B23).
 
As we should purify marriage instead of disregarding it, we can also work to let the understanding of God as the only source of our talents spiritualize everything we do.  While it is clear that the only true knowledge is the understanding of God's laws, the understanding of those laws can be applied in all of our endeavors.  It helps anyone and everyone be better at what they do (S28).  The realization that God is the only Cause and Creator of the universe frees us to go far beyond human limitations and parameters.  "Man reflects infinity..." (S29).  We are not bound by genetics, false theology, environment, or any human law or fear.  We have infinite opportunity; and we will be developing forever.
 
There's a camp song at CedarS, "I am a child of infinite potential."  The only way to free ourselves from the confines of material laws is to recognize God as our Creator and ourselves as the infinite creation.

Possible Sunday School Topics

[Questions to possibly ask yourself and to answer before]
December 5, 2010 on The Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson:
"God the Only Cause and Creator"
by Merrill Boudreaux of St. Louis, MO [bracketed italics by Warren Huff]
 
P.S.S.T. - Golden Text - How many creators are there? One. What did the Creator create?  All. What did the Creator use to create all? Himself.
 
P.S.S.T. - Responsive Reading - Use the Responsive Reading to list the actions/activities of the Creator and the creation:

Creator:
Good to all
tender mercies... over all
everlasting
givest them their meat in due season
openest thine hand
satisfieth the desire of every living thing
righteous
holy
causes judgment to be heard from heaven

Creation:
extol thee (define extol)
bless thy name
praise thy name
declare thy mighty acts
speak of thy glorious honor
make known... his mighty acts
make known... his kingdom
wait upon thee
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 1 - At what point does "In the beginning" occur?* Be careful, trick question. What already existed before "In the beginning"? The Word. What was the Word? God, with God, Logos, the Truth. (B1) See elsewhere in the Bible where this truth already existed and expressed itself, another "In the beginning" moment. Hint: "In the beginning... and God said..." Genesis 1:1. 
* [On John 1:1-4 (B1) Cobbey Crisler comments that the Greek "en arche", or "in the beginning" has been translated in Latin as "in principio" or in principle; and that "logos" conveys both thought and word. "When you go behind the word to the thought, you're dealing with ideas, concepts, and the meaning. It is where all human languages give up their fragmentation and meet, become one in a Pentecostal day of infinite communication. ... , John 1:3 continues with a statement that is quite absolute, "All things were made by him (the affirmation or plus); and without him was not anything made that was made. (the denial or minus) ... The plus, the minus, the affirmation, the denial is a mathematical approach. ... It challenges the reader's thought to see if he's there at that altitude before he continues any further in the gospel." (or in this lesson) The Book of John, A Walk with the Beloved Disciple is available on CD from The Daycroft Foundation.]
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 2 - What did God, the Lord, say in the Bible portion? ["Ask me ..."] (B2) What does the answer also imply? God knows all! Reveals it to those who ask! Directs all!
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 3 - Define manifold. Try diverse. Define diverse. Why does God need a diverse universe when everything was made in His image and likeness? Use a quilt as an example of the various fabric components that make up "one stupendous whole." See Miscellany 165:16-18.
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 4 - What are we commanded to know? [Who's your Daddy?!] (B5)
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 5 - Review the conversation between God and Abram in citation B8. What is the name of the first-born of Sarah and Abraham? Isaac. What is another term used for the many individual ideas produced by Spirit? Citation S9: multitudinous; which may be defined as countless. Think of the grains of sand near the oceans of the world as countless, as a hint of the innumerable ideas created by God. Define inexhaustible in citation S10. This is another hint of the nature of the Creator and of the ideas created. What do you now possess that is also inexhaustible? Ideas. Claim them for yourself - that you possess the ability to have every thought needed for any problem or challenge that arises.
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 6 - How are Christian Science offspring (you) to be educated? (S11, S&H 69:17-18)
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 7 - How is this education accomplished? By studying the precepts, rules, or laws (B13). Ask students to list some laws of God with which they are familiar: one God, one creation, man is the expression, reflection, of God. God is Spirit, man is spiritual...
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 8 - What did, does God see and behold? Good. Good is another term for God, so God beholds God's self and God's reflection as being good. Ask students to make a list and share what they behold as good, perhaps a favorite pet, friend, or family member. Does God send sickness, death, or mistakes? What does God send? (S17 & S18)
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 9 -What do you think Paul meant in citation B20 when he wrote to the Corinthians, "I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection:"? How does one take control of one's body? (S19) See also S&H 495:14.
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 10 -What does Christian Science reveal about the origin of all disease? (S26, S&H 169:18-20). What is revealed about the healing? (S26, S&H 169:25-28)
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 11 - What is freely given to us? (B22)  What is the result of having the laws of God present and active in our lives? (S28). What is the basis for these laws? (boundless God). Define boundless. You are the result of no limits. What cannot God do? What cannot you do because of who you are as creation? (S&H 135:20)

[PS In the spirit of asking "of things to come" (B2): CedarS can almost always use late-model mini-vans, Suburbans & trucks, w/ lower mileage, in good condition, 4-wheel or 2-wheel drive. Please just email bill@cedarscamps.org or call Bill (Nisbet) at 417-532-6699 to discuss your vehicle and its transfer.]

[Important Matching Fund Grant Offers Recently Renewed for Year-End Givers:
Donors made a recent pledge, that if CedarS can raise $25,000 by year-end for "Maintenance Musts", they will matching those gifts to cover the whole need! This will enable timely off-season repairs to buried pipes, floors, decks, equipment, vehicles, ... After last weekend's meeting of CedarS not-for-profit Board of Trustees, we have "only" $8,200 to raise by 12-31-10 in order to receive a $25,000 grant to accomplish all this overcoming of evil with good! And, thanks also to a recent pledge from other donors, if CedarS can raise $50,000 by next summer for our "Adopt the Herd" Riding Fund, they will match those gifts to cover the needs of feeding, shoeing and caring for our large and precious herd!] 
[AND OF COURSE, donations are always needed and welcome for camperships because without campers there would be no camp!  Funds are also being gratefully realized and spent to help complete CedarS Bible Lands Park (BLP) and its "Mediterranean S(k)ea". We will be happy to share more details if you wish to support any of these divine ideas coming to full fruition! 

[Thanks in advance for GIVING ONLINE! Just
click here to use a credit or debit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, or Discover card) or a virtual check to make monthly and one-time donations to CedarS' "Mediterranean S(k)ea", Bible Lands, Camperships, "Maintenance Musts", "Mets", Unrestricted, or Endowment Funds as you specify. We hope to soon add a link as requested by our international supporters to again allow giving to CedarS through PayPal.  Thanks for your patience and generous support!
Your support is tax-deductible and always welcomed--but during the economic downturn, your generous, unrestricted gifts have been and continue 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.
Writing a monthly check would be an answer to prayer. Please make it payable to "CedarS Camps" and mail it to: CedarS Camps Office, 1314 Parkview Valley, Manchester, MO 63011; or call Warren or Gay Huff at (636) 394-6162to discuss gifts of securities or property you are considering giving to help underwrite all the spiritual growth and progress at CedarS.]
 
[CedarS weekly Metaphysical Note Newsletters are provided at no charge to the 1,200 campers and staff who have been blessed each 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 deserving youth; and to help our facilities keep pace with our mission. (Click on --http://blog.cedarscamps.org/-- for pictures and write-ups on CedarS Bible Lands Park part of this mission.)

 [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.]
 
[You can now click on the pdf symbol (at the right of the webpage) to download a pdf version of CedarS Lesson mets for easier printing and for better reading from mobile devices.
Enjoy!     Warren Huff, Executive Director  
director@cedarscamps.org]

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