Christ, our Light

Quotations for June, 2004

Tuesday, June 1, 2004
Feast of Justin, Martyr at Rome, c.165
Commemoration of Angela de Merici, Founder of the Institute of St. Ursula, 1540

It has been said that agapao refers to “the love of God” and phileo is only “the love of men.” But this distinction is only a very small part of the difference, and as such is in itself incorrect. Both of these words may convey intense emotion or may be relatively weak in their meanings. These words do not indicate degree of love, but kinds of love. Agapao refers to love which arises from a keen sense of the value and worth in the object of our love, and phileo describes the emotional attachment which results from intimate and prolonged association. That is why in the Scriptures we are never commanded to “love” with the word phileo. Even when husbands and wives are instructed to love one another, the word agapao is used, for it is impossible to command that kind of love which can arise only from intimate association. On the other hand, the saints are admonished to appreciate profoundly the worth and value in others, and agapao is used to convey this meaning. All Christians are not necessarily to have sentimental attachments for one another (phileo). This would be impossible, for our circle of intimate friends is limited by the nature of our lives. But we can all be commanded to appreciate intensely the worth of others.
... Eugene A. Nida (1914-2011), God’s Word in Man’s Language, New York: Harper, 1952, p. 63 (see the book; see also John 15:12; 13:34; 1 Cor. 13:4-7; Gal. 6:10; Eph. 5:1-2; Phil. 2:1-2; 1 John 4:7-11; 5:1; more at Appreciation, Church, Commandment, Friend, God, Instruction, Love, Man, Meaning)

Wednesday, June 2, 2004

One takes a risk when one invites the Lord
Whether to dine, or talk the afternoon
Away, for always the unexpected soon
Turns up: a woman breaks her precious nard,
A sinner does the task you should assume,
A leper who is cleansed must show his proof:
Suddenly you see your very roof removed
And a cripple clutters up your living-room.
There’s no telling what to expect when Christ
Walks in the door. The table set for four
Must often be enlarged, and decorum
Thrown to the winds. It’s His voice that calls them,
And it’s no use to bolt and bar the door:
His kingdom knows no bounds of roof, of wall or floor.
... Marcella M. Holloway (1913-2003), included in Divine Inspiration: the life of Jesus in world poetry, Robert Atwan, George Dardess, Peggy Rosenthal, eds., Oxford University Press US, 1998, p. 118 (see the book; see also Luke 5:18-19; Matt. 9:10-13; Mark 2:3-4,15-17; 14:3; Luke 7:36-38; 17:12-16; John 12:2-3; 13:4-5; 14:23; Rev. 3:20; more at Christ, Cleanse, Door, Jesus, Kingdom, Miracle, Sinner, Woman)

Thursday, June 3, 2004
Feast of Edward King, Bishop of Lincoln, Teacher, 1910
Commemoration of Martyrs of Uganda, 1886 & 1978

Prayer and action, therefore, can never be seen as contradictory or mutually exclusive. Prayer without action grows in powerless pietism, and action without prayer degenerates into questionable manipulation. If prayer leads us into a deeper unity with the compassionate Christ, it will always give rise to concrete acts of service. And if concrete acts of service do indeed lead us to a deeper solidarity with the poor, the hungry, the sick, the dying, and the oppressed, they will always give rise to prayer. In prayer we meet Christ, and in him all human suffering. In service we meet people, and in them the suffering Christ.
... Henri J. M. Nouwen (1932-1996), Compassion, London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1982, Random House, 2005, p. 117-118 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 1:3-4; Isaiah 40:11; Col. 1:24; 3:12; 1 Pet. 4:13; more at Action, Christ, Compassion, People, Poverty, Prayer, Service, Sickness, Suffer)

Friday, June 4, 2004

There are more readers of the English Bible in this country than in any other, and the time seemed to me to have come for a frank and direct translation of the Greek New Testament into our modern spoken American English. We take great pains to provide Asiatica and Africana with special versions, so that they may read the Bible each in his own tongue wherein he was born; and why not do as much for our own young people, and our fellow citizens generally?
... Edgar J. Goodspeed (1871-1962), How Came the Bible?, New York: Abingdon, 1940, p. 127-128 (see the book; see also Acts 2:5-8; more at Attitudes, Bible, Gospel, Nation, People)

Saturday, June 5, 2004
Feast of Boniface (Wynfrith) of Crediton, Archbishop of Mainz, Apostle of Germany, Martyr, 754

God has no grandchildren.
... Robert MacColl Adams (1913-1985) (see also Gen. 17:26; more at Church, Culture, God)

Sunday, June 6, 2004
Commemoration of Ini Kopuria, Founder of the Melanesian Brotherhood, 1945

If the [Incarnation] happened, it was the central event in the history of the Earth—the very thing that the whole story has been about. Since it happened only once, it is by Hume’s standards infinitely improbable. But then, the whole history of the Earth has also happened only once: is it therefore incredible? Hence the difficulty, which weighs upon Christian and atheist alike, of estimating the probability of the Incarnation. It is like asking whether the existence of nature herself is intrinsically probable. That is why it is easier to argue, on historical grounds, that the Incarnation actually occurred than to show, on philosophical grounds, the probability of its occurrence.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), Miracles, New York: Macmillan, 1947, p. 174 (see the book; see also John 1:36; more at Apologetics, Earth, Existence, Historical, Incarnation, Philosophy)

Monday, June 7, 2004

We read not that Christ ever exercised force but once; and that was to drive profane ones out of his Temple, not to force them in.
... John Milton (1608-1674), “A Treatise of Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes” [1659], in Prose Works, London: Westley and Davis, 1835, p. 421 (see the book; see also John 2:14-17; Ps. 69:9; Jer. 7:11; Zech. 4:6; Matt. 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-17; Luke 19:45-46; 2 Cor. 10:4; more at Christ, Church, Jesus, Profane, Temple)

Tuesday, June 8, 2004
Feast of Thomas Ken, Bishop of Bath & Wells, Hymnographer, 1711
Commemoration of Roland Allen, Mission Strategist, 1947

[The] doctrine of [inevitable] progress sustained our fathers in the carrying of capitalist democratic culture to most parts of the globe. Its core was the conviction that, in thus extending the range of western liberal culture and developing its assumptions, they were in effect establishing on earth that which would grow into the kingdom of God. Some put it sharply but un-Biblically: “building the Kingdom;” others, of a more secular turn of mind, echoed J. A. Symonds’ hymn, “These things shall be.” That whole view exists today only as débris, for it has foundered on the rocks, not so much of human sin, as of the contradictions and complexities of the very western culture that was the substance of its belief.
... David M. Paton (1913-1992), Christian Missions and the Judgment of God, London: SCM Press, 1953, p. 28 (see the book; see also Gal. 1:6-8; Acts 4:12; Rom. 10:3; 2 Cor. 11:4; Gal. 3:2; Eph. 4:4-6; 1 Tim. 2:5; 1 Pet. 2:4-5; more at Belief, Culture, Growth, Kingdom, Progress, Sin, Weakness)

Wednesday, June 9, 2004
Feast of Columba, Abbot of Iona, Missionary, 597
Commemoration of Ephrem of Syria, Deacon, Hymnographer, Teacher, 373

When everything we receive from him is received and prized as a fruit and pledge of his covenant love, then his bounties, instead of being set up as rivals and idols to draw our heart from him, awaken us to fresh exercises of gratitude, and furnish us with fresh motives of cheerful obedience every hour.
... John Newton (1725-1807), in a letter, 1776, The Works of the Rev. John Newton, v. II, New York: Williams and Whiting, 1810, p. 216 (see the book; see also Ps. 117:1-2; Matt. 6:1-18; Eph. 5:20; Col. 1:12; 3:15-17; Jas. 1:17; more at Awakening, Gratitude, Heart, Idol, Love, Obedience)

Thursday, June 10, 2004

A basic principle in the interpretation of the Bible is that one must first ask what a given Scripture was intended to mean to the people for whom it was originally written; only then is the interpreter free to ask what meaning it has for Christians today.
Failure to ask this primary question and to investigate the historical setting of Scripture have prevented many Christians from coming to a correct understanding of some parts of the Bible. Nowhere is this more true than in respect to the last book in the Bible. Here, there has been a singular lack of appreciation for the historical background of the book; the book has been interpreted as if it were primarily written for the day in which the expositor lives (which is usually thought to be the end time), rather than in terms of what it meant to the first-century Christians of the Roman province of Asia for whom it was originally written. This has resulted in all sorts of grotesque and fantastic conclusions of which the author of the Revelation and its early recipients never would have dreamed.
... W. Ward Gasque (b. 1939), Sir William M. Ramsay: Archaeologist and New Testament Scholar, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1966, p. 48 (see the book; see also Rev. 1:9; Rom. 2:7; 5:3-4; 2 Thess. 1:4-5; Heb. 10:34-36; Rev. 3:10; 4:2; 13:10; 14:12; more at Bible, Failure, Historical, People, Question, Revelation, Scripture)

Friday, June 11, 2004
Feast of Barnabas the Apostle

The ordinary historian would probably not condemn the spirit of Laodicea so strenuously as St. John did. In the tendency of the Laodiceans towards a policy of compromise he would probably see a tendency towards toleration and allowance, which indicated a certain sound practical sense, and showed that the various constituents of the population of Laodicea were well mixed and evenly balanced. He would regard its somewhat featureless character and its easy regular development as proving that it was a happy and well-ordered city, in whose constitution “the elements were kindlier mixed” than in any other city of Asia. He would consider probably that its success as a commercial city was the just reward of the strong common sense which characterised its people. St. John, however, was not one of those who regarded a successful career in trade and money-making as the best proof of the higher qualities of citizenship. The very characteristics which made Laodicea a well-ordered, energetic, and pushing centre of trade, seemed to him to evince a coldness of nature that was fatal to the highest side of human character, the spirit of self-sacrifice and enthusiasm.
... Sir William M. Ramsay (1851-1939), The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1904, p. 425-426 (see the book; see also Rev. 3:14-16; Col. 2:1; 4:13-16; more at City, Historical, Self-sacrifice, Spirit, Strength, Tolerance)

Saturday, June 12, 2004

It is characteristic of the thinking of our time that the problem of guilt and forgiveness has been pushed into the background and seems to disappear more and more. Modern thought is impersonal. There are, even to-day, a great many people who understand that man needs salvation, but there are very few who are convinced that he needs forgiveness and redemption... Sin is understood as imperfection, sensuality, [worldliness]—but not as guilt.
... Emil Brunner (1889-1966), The Word and the World, London: Student Christian Movement Press, 1931, p. 49 (see the book; see also Ps. 51:4; Matt. 6:12,14-15; Luke 1:76-79; 24:46-47; Acts 16:29-31; Rom. 7:13; Jas. 2:10; more at Forgiveness, Guilt, Redemption, Salvation, Sin, Worldly)

Sunday, June 13, 2004
Commemoration of Gilbert Keith Chesterton, Apologist and Writer, 1936

It is one thing to believe in justification by faith, it is another thing to be justified by faith.
... Adolph Saphir (1831-1891), Christ and Israel, London: Morgan and Scott, 1911, p. 73 (see the book; see also Rom. 3:25-26; Matt. 9:12-13; Rom. 1:16-17; 4:20-22; Phil. 3:8-11; Gal. 2:15-16; more at Belief, Conversion, Faith, Justification)

Monday, June 14, 2004
Commemoration of Richard Baxter, Priest, Hymnographer, Teacher, 1691

Each of us individually has risen into moral life from a mode of being which was purely natural; in other words, ... each of us also has fallen—fallen, presumably in ways determined by his natural constitution, yet certainly, as conscience assures us, in ways for which we are morally answerable, and to which, in the moral constitution of the world, consequences attach which we must recognise as our due. They are not only results of our action, but results which that action has merited; and there is no moral hope for us unless we accept them as such.
... James Denney (1856-1917), The Atonement and the Modern Mind, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1903, p. 55 (see the book; see also Gen. 3:22-23; Matt. 27:3-5; Tit. 1:15; Heb. 9:14; 10:26-27; more at Action, Assurance, Certainty, Conscience, Hope, Life, Morality, Nature, Sin)

Tuesday, June 15, 2004
Feast of Evelyn Underhill, Mystical Writer, 1941

Those who complain that they make no progress in the life of prayer because they “cannot meditate” should examine, not their capacity for meditation, but their capacity for suffering and love. For there is a hard and costly element, a deep seriousness, a crucial choice, in all genuine religion.
... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), The School of Charity, New York: Longmans, Green, 1934, reprinted, Morehouse Publishing, 1991, p. 54 (see the book; see also Ps. 119:47-48; Matt. 16:24,25; Col. 3:16-17; more at Choices, Love, Meditation, Prayer, Religion, Suffer)

Wednesday, June 16, 2004
Feast of Richard of Chichester, Bishop, 1253
Commemoration of Joseph Butler, Bishop of Durham, Moral Philosopher, 1752

Thanks be to thee,
My Lord Jesus Christ,
for all the benefits which Thou hast given us;
for all the pains and insults which Thou hast borne for us.
O most merciful redeemer,
friend and brother,
may we know thee more clearly,
love Thee more dearly,
and follow Thee more nearly;
For Thine own sake.
... St. Richard of Chichester (1197-1253), attributed (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 4:15-16; Mark 12:30; Luke 11:3; John 15:15; 20:17; Gal. 4:6; more at Christ, Friend, Jesus, Knowing God, Love, Pain, Prayers, Redemption)

Thursday, June 17, 2004
Commemoration of Samuel & Henrietta Barnett, Social Reformers, 1913 & 1936

Within the life of the church, the paths of the single and the married should not be allowed to diverge. The shared life of the Christian community must become a context in which the differing gifts can be used for each other. There is much still to be learned about this. Are the homes of married Christians an added support for the single? Is the availability of the single Christian put at the disposal of his married friends, for “babysitting” duties and the like? And what is true of the mutual support of married and single needs to be true in a wider way of the care exercised by the married and the single for each other, so that nobody’s home life becomes completely cut off from support and help.
... Oliver O’Donovan (b. 1945), “Marriage and the Family”, in The Changing World, Bruce Kaye, ed., vol. 3 of Obeying Christ in a Changing World, John Stott, gen. ed., 3 vol., London: Fountain, 1977, p. 105 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 12:24-27; Rom. 12:4-8; Eph. 1:22-23; 4:11-13; Col. 1:24; more at Church, Community, Friend, Gifts, Home, Life, Marriage)

Friday, June 18, 2004

This outer world is but the pictured scroll
Of worlds within the soul,
A coloured chart, a blazoned missal-book
Wherein who rightly look
May spell the splendours with their mortal eyes
And steer to Paradise.
... Alfred Noyes (1880-1958), Collected Poems, v. II, New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1913, p. 66 (see the book; see also Rev. 21:27; 3:5; 13:8; 20:12,15; 21:1-2; 22:7; more at Heaven and Hell, Paradise, Soul, World)

Saturday, June 19, 2004
Commemoration of Sundar Singh of India, Sadhu, Evangelist, Teacher, 1929

For the first two or three years after my conversion, I used to ask for specific things. Now I ask for God. Supposing there is a tree full of fruits, you will have to go and buy or beg the fruits from the owner of the tree. Every day you would have to go for one or two fruits. But if you can make the tree your own property, then all the fruits will be your own. In the same way, if God is your own, then all things in Heaven and on earth will be your own, because He is your Father and is everything to you; otherwise you will have to go and ask like a beggar for certain things. When they are used up, you will have to ask again. So ask not for gifts, but for the Giver of Gifts: not for life but for the Giver of Life—then life and the things needed for life will be added unto you.
... Sadhu Sundar Singh (1889-1929), quoted in The Message of Sadhu Sundar Singh, B. H. Streeter & A. J. Appasamy, New York: The Macmillan Company, 1922, p. 74 (see the book; see also Matt. 6:33; Luke 12:31; John 6:27-29; Gal. 5:6; Phil. 2:12-13; more at Father, Gifts, Giving, Life, Prayer)

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Leave Him [God] out of our explanations, and the life of thought is decapitated... Without God, everything dries up.
... Martin C. D’Arcy (1888-1976), Mirage and Truth, The Centenary Press, 1935, p. 95 (see the book; see also Ps. 10:4; 14:1-3; 42:1-2; John 1:4; Rom. 1:21-23,28; Eph. 2:11-12; more at Apologetics, God, Life, Thought, Unbelief)

Monday, June 21, 2004

Never again are we to look at the stars, as we did when we were children, and wonder how far it is to God. A being outside our world would be a spectator, looking on but taking no part in this life where we try to be brave despite all the bafflement. A God who created, and withdrew, could be mighty, but he could not be love. Who could love a God remote, when suffering is our lot? Our God is closer than our problems, for they are out there, to be faced; He is here, beside us, Emmanuel.
... Joseph E. McCabe (1912-2001?), Handel’s Messiah, Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1978, p. 27 (see the book; see also Ps. 139:7-10; 46:7; 145:18; Isa. 9:6-7; 44:3; Jer. 13:24; Eze. 36:25-27; Joel 2:28-29; Matt. 1:23; John 1:14; 17:3; Acts 2:38-39; 8:17 Rom. 8:11; 2 Pet. 3:9; 1 John 3:2; more at Adversity, Apologetics, Child, God, Love, Star, Suffer, Wonder, World)

Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Feast of Alban, first Martyr of Britain, c.209

[Jesus] did not finish all the urgent tasks in Palestine or all the things He would have liked to do, but He did finish the work which God gave Him to do. The only alternative to frustration is to be sure that we are doing what God wants. Nothing substitutes for knowing that this day, this hour, in this place, we are doing the will of the Father. Then and only then can we think of all the other unfinished tasks with equanimity and leave them with God.
... Charles E. Hummel (1923-2004), The Tyranny of the Urgent, Chicago: Inter-Varsity Press, 1967, included in Discipline Yourself for Godliness, John Barnett, BFM Books, 2004, p. 254 (see the book; see also Matt. 7:21; 15:24-28; 26:39; Mark 7:25-28; John 14:12; 19:30; more at God, Jesus, Knowledge, Obedience, Task, Will of God)

Wednesday, June 23, 2004
Feast of Etheldreda, Abbess of Ely, c.678

O for a closer walk with God,
A calm and heavenly frame,
A light to shine upon the road
That leads me to the Lamb!
Return, O holy Dove, return,
Sweet messenger of rest:
I hate the sins that made Thee mourn,
And drove Thee from my breast.
The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be,
Help me to tear it from Thy throne,
And worship only Thee.
So shall my walk be close with God,
Calm and serene my frame;
So purer light shall mark the road
That leads me to the Lamb.
... William Cowper (1731-1800), included in The Works of William Cowper: his life, letters, and poems, New York: R. Carter & Brothers, 1851, p. 670 (see the book; see also Luke 24:32; Gen. 5:24; Deut. 28:9; John 1:29,32; 2 Cor. 5:7; Col. 2:6-7; Rev. 5:12; more at Calm, God, Heaven, Holy Spirit, Idol, Knowing God, Lamb, Light, Road, Sin)

Thursday, June 24, 2004
Feast of the Birth of John the Baptist

We never find a presbyter in the singular in the New Testament. He is always a member of a team. In the modern church, the ordained man is almost always on his own in the community, unless he is lucky enough to have a colleague, or to be a member of a team ministry. We expect the ordained man to be almost omnicompetent, and complain at his deficiencies. This is an extremely serious error. It is very bad for the man himself to be made to feel that he is the sole minister: it may lead to despair, arrogance, blindness to the true situation, and inhibiting the gifts of others. It is bad for the parish: they become critical and lazy. When the different limbs in Christ’s body are not allowed their special ministry, they are harmed and their gifts atrophy. The ordained man too is harmed, for he has to attempt to do various ministries for which he has no charisma from God, and the church cannot be adequately cared for.
... Michael Green (1930-2019), “Mission and Ministry”, E. M. B. Green, in The People of God, Ian Cundy, ed., vol. 2 of Obeying Christ in a Changing World, John Stott, gen. ed., 3 vol., London: Fountain, 1977, p. 75-76 (see the book; see also Acts 14:23; 20:28; Phil. 1:1; Tit. 1:5; 1 Tim. 5:17; Heb. 13:17; more at Arrogance, Bible, Blindness, Body of Christ, Church, Despair, Gifts, Minister, Mission, Ordination)

Friday, June 25, 2004

At the earlier Methodist class meetings, members were expected every week to answer some extremely personal questions such as the following: Have you experienced any particular temptations during the past week? How did you react or respond to those temptations? Is there anything you are trying to keep secret, and if so, why? At this point the modern Christian swallows hard! We are often coated with a thick layer of reserve and modesty which covers “a multitude of sins”; usually our own. Significantly James 5:16-20, the original context of that phrase, is the passage which urges, “Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”
... Michael Griffiths (b. 1928), God’s Forgetful Pilgrims, p. 79 (see the book; see also Jas. 5:16-20; Ps. 32:1; Pr. 10:12; 11:30; Matt. 3:5-6; 18:15-17; Acts 19:18; 1 Thess. 5:17; 1 Tim. 4:16; 1 Pet. 4:8; more at Confession, Past, Prayer, Question, Repentance, Sin, Temptation)

Saturday, June 26, 2004

He who has surrendered himself to it knows that the Way ends on the Cross—even when it is leading him through the jubilation of Gennesaret or the triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
... Dag Hammarskjöld (1905-1961), Markings, tr. Leif Sjöberg & W. H. Auden, (q.v.), New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1964 (post.), p. 91 (see the book; see also Luke 9:23-24; Mark 6:53-56; Luke 14:26-27; John 12:12-13; Rom. 8:13-14; Gal. 2:20; 5:24; more at Cross, Gospel, Jerusalem, Knowledge, Way)

Sunday, June 27, 2004

[He said] that it was a great delusion to think that the times of prayer ought to differ from other times; that we are as strictly obliged to adhere to God by action in the time of action as by prayer in the season of prayer.
That his prayer was nothing else but a sense of the Presence of God, his soul being at that time insensible to everything but Divine Love; and that when the appointed times of prayer were past, he found no difference, because he still continued with God, praising and blessing Him with all his might, so that he passed his life in continual joy; yet hoped that God would give him somewhat to suffer when he should have grown stronger.
... Brother Lawrence (c.1605-1691), The Practice of the Presence of God, New York, Revell, 1895, Fourth Conversation, p. 16-17 (see the book; see also Lev. 24:4; Luke 24:53; 1 Thess. 5:17; Heb. 13:15; Rev. 5:8; more at Blessing, God, Joy, Love, Praise, Prayer, Presence of God, Soul, Strength, Suffer)

Monday, June 28, 2004
Feast of Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, Teacher, Martyr, c.200

We must never speak to simple, excitable people about “the Day” without emphasizing again and again the utter impossibility of prediction. We must try to show them that that impossibility is an essential part of the doctrine. If you do not believe our Lord’s words, why do you believe in His return at all? And if you do believe them, must you not put away from you, utterly and forever, any hope of dating that return?
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), The World’s Last Night [1960], Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002, p. 107 (see the book; see also Mark 13:32; more at Attitudes, Belief, Day, Hope, Teach)

Tuesday, June 29, 2004
Feast of Peter & Paul, Apostles

Kind souls, you wonder why, love you,
When you, you wonder why, love none.
We love, Fool, for the good we do,
Not that which unto us is done.
... Coventry Patmore (1823-1896), Florilegium Amantis, London: G. Bell, 1879, p. 233 (see the book; see also Luke 6:31; Lev. 19:18; Matt. 5:44-46; 7:12; 22:39; Rom. 13:8-9; Gal. 5:14-16; 6:2; Jas. 2:8; more at Fool, Love, Wonder)

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

The now wherein God made the first man, and the now wherein the last man disappears, and the now I speak in, are all the same in God where this is but the now.
... Meister Eckhart (1260?-1327?), Works of Meister Eckhart, London: J. M. Watkins, 1924, p. 37 (see the book; see also John 8:56-58; Ex. 3:14; Ps. 2:7; John 1:1-2; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:10-12; 13:8; more at God, Providence, Time)


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