Thursday, July 17, 2014

CHILDREN ON A BUS

CHILDREN ON A BUS
 
 
I DO NOT CLAIM
TO KNOW THE ANSWER TO IMMIGRATION
BUT SOMEHOW
I DO NOT FIND JESUS
PROTEST VIOLENTLY
THE ARRIVAL OF CHILDREN
 
IN OUR COUNTRY
CHILDREN ARE LEAVING
THE OLD TOWNS
THERE’S NO JOBS
NO FUTURE THERE
 
THESE CHILDREN HAVE THE SAME DREAMS
 
CHEAP LABOR
KEPT LOW
FOR AMERICAN MANUFACTURERS
PROMISE NO BRIGHT FUTURE
 
BUT AS TO IMMIGRATION
I DO NOT THINK THE BIBLE IS JUST HAPPY TALK
BUT A WAY OF LIFE
 
WE CALL OURSELVES
A CHRISTIAN NATION
WHERE IS THE COMPASSION
IN SOLVING THE PROBLEM
 
ARE WE WILLING
TO HAVE A HALF A LOAF
SO OTHERS MAY HAVE SOME
 
CHRIST WAS AN IMMIGRANT IN EGYPT
CHRIST IS AN IMMIGRANT NOW
HOW DO WE GREET HIM
 
 
FRANK A VOLLMER


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

LOTUS CROSS

THE LOTUS CROSS


WHEN THE APOSTLES
WERE ASSIGNING MISSION FIELDS
THEY GAVE THOMAS
INDIA

THERE WERE JEWISH COMMUNITIES THERE
COURTESY OF THE BABYLONIAN CAPTIVITY

HE WAS SUCCESSFUL
THEY WERE KNOWN AS ST THOMAS CHRISTIANS

IT EXISTS STILL TODAY
IT HAS GONE THROUGH CHANGES
FROM APOSTOLIC
NESTORIAN
CATHOLIC
ORTHODOX
SPLIT OVER IOTAS

BUT ALL ALONG
PREACHING GOD’S WORD
DOING GOD’S WORK
HIS NAME BE PRAISED



IN THE EAST THE LOTUS FLOWER IS IMPORTANT
TO ITS MAJOR RELIGIONS
IT STANDS AS A SYMBOL
THAT MAN CAN TRIUMPH

IT STARTS IN MUD
IN MUDDY WATER
GROWS
TILL IT STANDS ABOVE THE WATER
THEN BLOOMS
DISPLAYING A BUDDHIST SAYING


RISE
ABOVE THE MURK
TO ACHIEVE ENLIGHTENMENT.
.
SO STRONG IS THE ATTACHMENT IN THE EAST
THEY USED IT IN THEIR CHRISTIAN LOGO


THE LOTUS CROSS

.


.



 
Lacking the effigy of Jesus, the St. Thomas Cross presages the discovery of the empty tomb, glorifying the Resurrection of Jesus
  The four edges of the cross are floral in shape, symbolizing fruition and life.
  The lotus flower beneath the cross is a symbol of Buddhism and India. A cultural adaptation of local imagery, the lotus is the national flower of India and the cross fixed on the lotus would symbolize Christianity in India in the first century. The lotus is also a Puranic holy flower, an offering to God in the Hindu tradition; anything offered on the leaves of lotus is considered to be auspicious.
  The three steps below the Cross represent Golgotha, symbolically referring to the death of Jesus
  Finally, the dove above the cross represents the Holy Spirit, the third aspect of the Holy Trinity according to the Christian tradition. It is this spirit that raised Jesus from the dead and bestows gifts upon the Church's faithful.






THE CHURCH WAS SUSTAINED BY THE SILK ROAD
A TRADE ROUTE KNOWN TO THE ANCIENTS
RUNNING FROM CHINA TO ROME
IT HELPED SPREAD CHRISTIANITY
ALONG ITS ROUTE

CHRISTIANITY OF ALL FLAVORS

WHY DO THEY TREAT THESE PEOPLE AS ENEMIES
WHEN THEY WERE DOING GOD’S WORK

THOMAS THE DOUBTER
REASONABLY
COULD ASK
WHY


.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

WHO SPEAKS FOR CAIN

 
WHO SPEAKS FOR CAIN
 
 
THE TROUBLE BEGINS
WITH YAHWEH NOT TELLING ADAM’S FAMILY
HE WANTED BLOOD SACRIFICES ONLY
IF HE DID IT’S NOT IN THE TEXT
 
A TEXT WRITTEN MANY MILLENNIUMS
SINCE THE FIRST MAN
IT’S NOT A TRUE REPORT
BUT A RECOLLECTION OF FOLK TALES
 
REFLECTING THE TIMES
WHEN IT WAS WRITTEN
 
A TIME WHEN CRUDE NOMADS
WERE TAKING OVER THE CULTURED CANAANITES
 
WITHOUT SOME MEANING
THE STORY DOESN’T HOLD TOGETHER
AN ENGLISH TEACHER
WOULD TURN IT BACK
AS INCOMPLETE
 
SCHOLARS HAVE TRIED TO GIVE IT MEANING
THAT IT WAS FRICTION
BETWEEN HERDERS AND FARMERS
BUT IT’S CONJECTURE
IT’S NOT IN THE BOOK
 
BIBLICAL FAIRY TALES
HAVE BEEN CREATED
LIKE SATAN SPAWNED CAIN THROUGH EVE
THAT CAIN AND ABEL WERE BORN AS TWINS
THAT EACH MARRIED THE OTHER’S TWIN
 
BUT IT’S CONJECTURE
IT’S NOT IN THE BOOK

 
WHICH ISN’T TO SAY
THAT CONJECTURE
AND FAIRY TALES
HAVEN’T BECOME GOSPEL
AND PREACHED AS SUCH
 
BUT WE ARE LEFT WITH A GOD
WHO APPEARS CAPRICIOUS
FICKLE
PERSNICKETY
 
BUT IN THE MIDST OF THIS CONFUSION
THERE IS A JEWEL
WHEN GOD ASKS CAIN
WHERE’S ABEL
 
HE COMPLAINS
AM I MY BROTHER’S KEEPER
 
THE ANSWER
THOUGH NEVER SPOKEN
THUNDERS EVEN TODAY
 
YES
 
ALL OUR RELIGIOUS THINKING
STEM FROM THAT THOUGHT
 
THE QUESTION LINGERS
WHEN WE SEE THE INEQUALITY OF WEALTH
WHEN UNJUST WARS ARE FOUGHT
WHEN FAMINE EATS THE HUNGRY
WHILE OVERWEIGHT PEOPLE GO TO THE GYM
 
THE QUESTION THUNDERS
AM I MY BROTHERS KEEPER
THE ANSWER THUNDERS
EVEN IF WE WON’T LISTEN
 
YES
 
 
FRANK A VOLLMER


Thursday, May 29, 2014

DEATH AND OTHER LIVING THINGS



Romans 8:35-39

JESUS IS SUPPOSED TO HAVE SAID
TAKE UP YOUR CROSS
AND FOLLOW ME

IT ALWAYS SEEMED
LIKE AN ANACHRONISM TO ME

JEWISH METHOD OF KILLING
WAS STONING
THE CROSS TO THE JEW
WAS A ROMAN METHOD OF EXECUTION

I THOUGHT MAYBE SOME SCRIBE
ADDED IT
TO HELP JESUS MAKE HIS POINT

AND WHAT WOULD THAT POINT BE
TO JESUS
OR THE MAYBE SCRIBE

DEATH BY ROMANS
NOT FOR SACRILEGE
ABOUT WHICH
THE ROMANS COULD CARE LESS

BUT INSURRECTION
WHICH WAS A ROMAN CONCERN

SO JESUS WAS SAYING
IF YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO DIE FOR ME
YOU CAN HAVE NO PART OF ME

I DON’T MEAN PHYSICAL DEATH ENTIRELY
ARE YOU WILLING TO BE MY DISCIPLE
24/7

OR ONE DAY A WEEK FOR MAYBE AN HOUR

24/7
FOLLOWING JESUS

FAILURE YES
BUT STRIVING TO MEET THE MARK

KNOWING THAT
I REMEMBER PAUL SAYING




Who will separate us
from the love of Christ?
Will tribulation,
or distress,
or persecution, or famine,
or nakedness, or peril,
or sword?

Just as it is written,

“ FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG;
WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.”

 But in all these things
we overwhelmingly conquer
 through Him
who loved us.

For I am convinced
that neither death,
nor life,
nor angels, nor principalities,
nor things present
, nor things to come,
 nor powers, 39
nor height, nor depth,
nor any other created thing,
will be able to separate us
from the love of God,
 which is in Christ Jesus
our Lord.


 


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IT WAS LIKE A TRIP BACK IN TIME


GOING FROM PHILLY TO MAINE


 FROM LATE SPRING TO LATE WINTER


 FROM THE PROMISE OF LIFE


 TO THE PROMISE OF DEATH


 


 CRYSTAL COME


 YOUR DAD'S HAD A STROKE


 HE WANTS YOU TO COME


 ARE YOU SURE


 YES HE WANTS YOU TO COME


 


 SO DISTANT DAUGHTER


 IS FLYING DOWN THE ROAD


 TRYING TO NARROW ONE FORM OF DISTANCE


 NOT KNOWING IF THE OTHER DISTANCE


 WILL EVER BE BRIDGED


 


 MY PRAYER A MANTRA


 IN TIME TO THE WIPERS


 BRUSHING THE RAIN FROM THE PANE


 HOLD ON DADDY


 OH DADDY HOLD ON


 


ODD TO BE PRAYING FOR A MAN


 WHO WAS AT PEACE WITH GOD AND HIMSELF


 FROM A WOMAN WHO HAD REJECTED THE SURENESS


WHO NOW HAD ALL THE ANSWERS


 BUT HAD NONE


 


OH DADDY HOLD ON


 


 COME CRYSTAL COME


 SO I RUN


 


 CAN A GIRL EVER LOSE HER LOVE


FOR HER FIRST LOVE


 HER DADDY


 


COME CRYSTAL COME


 THIS FROM HIS SECOND WIFE


 FROM WHOM I WAS DISTAN

 

NO FAULT OF HERS


 SHE BELONGED TO HIM


THAT MADE THE GAP


 


 SO LONG AGO I'D WANDERED FROM MY FATHER'S HOUSE


 ANGRY


 WITH SET JAWS ON BOTH SIDES


 


SHE'D MADE HIM GENTLE


 THIS NEW WIFE


 MY SIBLINGS HAD SAID SO


 


BUT I HAD WANTED TO HOARD MY PAIN


 IT WAS MY SORE TOOTH


 I SUCKED IT REGULARLY


 


COME CRYSTAL COME


 


 HOW BLEAK THE LANDSCAPE HAD BECOME


 HOW MATCHING TO MY SOUL AND SPIRIT


 UNTIL FINALLY THE HOSPITAL WAS REACHED


 


 MY FAMILY AND GRACE


AROUND THE BED


 HOLDING HIS HANDS AND THEIRS


 WATCHING THE MONITORS FOR ANSWERS


WATCHED THEM AS MY BROTHER SAID


 REST EASY DAD


 WE ARE ALL HERE


 GRACE IS HERE


 BEVERLY AND I ARE HERE


 CRYSTAL IS HERE


 


HE SQUEEZED MY HAND


IN THE PLAYFUL GRIP


 HE USED TO DO WHEN I WAS A CHILD


 HE WENT


 WENT DOWN THE ROAD AS FLAT AS THE MONITORS


 


 A GREATNESS LEFT THE ROOM


 SORROW FILLED THE SPACE


 AN EMPTINESS WAS IN MY HEART


 


BUT I KNEW


 SOMEHOW I KNEW


 AS IF MY FATHER TOLD ME


 THAT SPRING WOULD COME


 WITH IT HAPPY MEMORIES


 KNOWING THERE WAS NO DISTANCE AT THE END


 


 GRACE THANK YOU


 FOR TAKING CARE OF HIM IN HIS LATER YEARS


 PERHAPS HIS DEATH WILL TEACH ME HOW TO LIVE


 


 THE FAMILY AROUND THE DEATH BED


CRYING


 HOLDING HANDS


 SHARING LOVE AND WARMTH AND MEMORIES


 AS DEATH ONCE MORE


 TRIED TO TEACH US LIFE


 


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GENTLE REBUKE (Mark 8:31-38) .


 



SO QUICKLY HAD HE SPOKE

IMPULSIVE PETER

SO QUICKLY HAD HE SPOKE

THE WORDS WERE OUT

BEFORE HE HAD TIME TO THINK

BUT OUT OF HIS LOVE FOR HIS FRIEND

THE IMPACT

OF THE WORDS HE HAD SAID

I MUST GO TO JERUSALEM AND DIE



HE PUT HIS ARM AROUND JESUS

DREW HIM TO HIMSELF

SHELTERING

SAI

IT MUST NOT BE


 

JESUS HEARTBROKEN

BECAUSE PETER

STILL

WAS UNAWARE OF HIS MISSION

SAID SOFTLY

GET BEHIND ME SATAN


GET BEHIND ME SATAN

ADVICE GIVEN A CHILD BY A PARENT

DON’T STUDY FOR THE MINISTRY

THERE’S NO FUTURE

LONG HOURS

LOW WAGES

SHELTERING THE CHILD

OR THOSE

WATCHING BOX CARS

RATTLING ACROSS EUROPE

FILLED WITH HUMANITY

SAYING NOTHING


OR PREACHERS


PREACHING BROTHERHOOD

IN A SEGREGATED CHURC

WHILE LAZARUS

IS UNDER THE TABLE

BEGGING CRUMBS


OR WORKMEN

AFTER YEARS OF SERVICE

FINDING NO PENSION

WHILE CEOS MAKE MILLIONS

WHERE IS THE CRY FOR JUSTICE

MUTED BY THOSE WHO HAVE


BUT JESUS SAYS

GET BEHIND ME SATAN

UNLESS A MAN

IS WILLING TO TAKE A STAND

SUFFER WITH ME

HE IS NOT WORTHY OF ME


JESUS SAYS

GIVE ME PEOPLE

LIKE MOTHER TERESA

MAHATMA GANDHI

DIETRICH BONHOEFFER

DOROTHY DAY

DANIEL BERRIGAN

JOHN XXIII


TAKE YOUR ARM FROM AROUND ME

I AM NOT A TO

OR PRETTY FEELING

TO BE SHELTERED FROM THE STORM


I KNOW YOU LOVE ME

BUT YOUR ARM AROUND ME HINDERS ME

I NEED TO STRETCH

MY ARMS OUT

FOR THE CROSS

I AM YOUR FRIEND

WHO DOES NOT SHIRK

FROM EMPTYING HIMSELF

BY DYING ON A CROSS


 


 


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PALM SUNDAY


 


 



 


 


WHEN JESUS RODE INTO JERUSALEM


ON A DONKEY HE’D BORROWED FOR THE OCCASION


 


 HEARING HOSANNAS


SEEING THE PALM BRANCHES


STREWN IN HIS WAY


HE HEARD UNDERNEATH


THE SNICKERING OF SOME


TEACHER GET YOUR DISCIPLES UNDER CONTROL 


IT’S UNLAWFUL TO BE JOYFUL


 

IF I SHOULD QUIET THEM


THE VERY STONES WOULD SING


 


BUT THE HOLY PEOPLE


THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS


THE GOOD PEOPLE


CALLED OUT

SEEING THE JOY OF THE CROWD


 CRIED


 IT’S OUT OF CONTROL


 IT’S A STAMPEDE


 


WE WANT THEM WORRIED


ABOUT RELIGIOUS MINUTIAE


NOT THE FREEDOM HE TALKS ABOUT


 HE MUST BE STOPPED


 BEFORE ALL WE STAND FOR DIES


 


 IT WOULD BE NICE TO SAY


 THAT THE PROPHECY IS TRUE


 THAT THE PHARISEES ARE DEAD


 BUT THEY ARE STILL WITH US


 WORRYING ABOUT MINUTIAE


 WHILE CHILDREN STARVE


 


WHERE IS OUR SENSE OF VALUES


 


 WHILE JESUS RIDES TO HIS DEATH


 THE MOOD OF THE CROWD WILL CHANGE


YET HE RIDES TO BRING ABOUT OUR SALVATION


 ASKS US TO MAKE HIS SACRIFICE WORTHWHILE


 


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A Meditation



IF ANYONE WOULD COME AFTER ME


 HE MUST DENY HIMSELF


 TAKE UP HIS CROSS


AND FOLLOW ME.


 


 HOW MANY TIMES WE HAVE BEEN TOLD


IT’S THE CROSS WE MUST BEAR


FAMILY TRIALS


 

SICKNESS


 ECONOMIC DIFFICULTIES


DEATH


 


 I DO NOT BELIEVE


 THE NORMAL TRIALS


 THE TRAVAILS


 OF ORDINARY LIFE


 ARE SENT AS TESTS


 


 WE FAIL SO MANY


 IF MY SUFFERING


 HAS NO RELIGIOUS VALUE


 WHAT GOOD IS SUFFERING


 


 IT BOTHERS ME


 AS AN ANACHRONISM


 THAT CHRIST WOULD SAY


 TAKE UP YOUR CROSS


 A CROSS WAS NOT THE JEWISH WAY OF DEATH


 STONING WAS


 


 I COULD SEE


TAKE UP YOUR YOKE


 YOUR BURDENS


 FOLLOW ME


 FOR IN ME


 YOU WILL FIND REST


 


 BUT NOT THE CROSS


 


 WHAT ELSE COULD HE MEAN


 


 PALESTINE


 WAS AN OCCUPIED COUNTRY


 THE ROMAN ARMY KEPT THE PEACE


 THEY


 AS SO MANY SOCIETIES


 HAVE DONE


 USED THE DEATH PENALTY


 TO CURB CRIME


 


 A COMMON SIGHT


 WAS A PERSON


 WITH THE UPPER PART OF THE CROSS


 TIED ACROSS THEIR SHOULDERS


 FORCED TO MARCH


 FROM THE COURT TO THE CRUCIFIXION PLACE


 


 PART OF THE RITUAL


 WAS TO MAKE THE DYING


 AS HORRIBLE AS POSSIBLE


 


THE SOLDIERS BORED WITH THE TASK


 INURED TO THE SUFFERING


 WOULD CRUCIFY UPSIDE DOWN


 SIDEWAYS


 IMPALED ON A SPIKE


 STRIPPED NAKED


 


THE PEOPLE SEEING THE PROCESSION


 WOULD SAY


CRIMINAL


 


 BUT I THINK WHAT CHRIST IS SAYING


 YOU MUST BE WILLING TO APPEAR


LIKE A COMMON CRIMINAL


 LIKE ONE


SOCIETY


 IS UNCOMFORTABLE WITH


 


 LIKE BONHOFFER


 LIKE MARTIN LUTHER


 LIKE MARTIN LUTHER KING


 


 I REMEMBER A LEARNED BISHOP SAYING


IT IS NOT PROPER FOR CHURCH PEOPLE


 TO MARCH IN FREEDOM MARCHES


 BE ARRESTED


 IT DOESN’T LOOK GOOD FOR THE CHURCH


 


 BUT CHRIST SAYS


 UNLESS YOU ARE WILLING


 TO TAKE THE CROSS


 WALK TO THE JEERS OF THE CROWD


 YOU CANNOT FOLLOW ME


 


 IF ANYONE WOULD COME AFTER ME


 HE MUST DENY HIMSELF


 TAKE UP HIS CROSS


 TO FOLLOW ME


 


 


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AT THE END



AT THE END
WE PRAYED FOR DEATH
WE WATCHED HIM LABOR
MOST OF THE DAY
EVENING
AND EARLY MORNING
HE’D TALK OUTLOUD
WORDS
DISJOINTED SENTENCES
AS IF HE WAS SETTLING
HIS AFFAIRS
THEN THE ELDEST DAUGHTER SAID
IT’S OK TO GO
YOUR WIFE IS SAFE
AND THE FAMILY IS HERE
THEN HE RESTED
WAS AT PEACE
THEN HE DIED

MAY YOUR FAMILY DIE
IN THE NATURAL ORDER
A BIT IF JEWISH WISDOM

I FEEL LIKE A SHEPHERD
THAT LOST A SHEEP
TRULY LOST
AND FEEL EMPTY
BY THE LOSS

I KNOW THAT SOME OF MY EMOTIONS
ARE UNREAL
AND MANUFACTURD

BUT THEY WALK WITH ME
A SHADOW COMPANION

TO PRAY FOR DEATH
NO MATTER
HOW DESIREABLE
STILL LEAVES A PARENT
SEEKING
LIFE
DEATH
PEACE


 


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FROM PRISON CELL TO KILLING GROUND


HE WENT PEACEFULLY


 QUIETLY



 AT EASE WITH HIMSELF


HIS GOD


 HIS ACTIONS


 


HE COULD HAVE DONE BETTER


 NOT EVERY ACTION WAS NOBLE


 BUT EVENTUALLY


 HE DID WHAT HE FELT HE HAD TO DO


 HE FELT CONTENT


 


 HE WALKED NAKED


 TO THE DERISION OF THE GUARDS


 YOU SAVED JEWS


 SAVE YOURSELF


 HE MUTTERED NOT A WORD


 LIKE A LAMB BEING LED TO SLAUGHTER


 LIKE A TRAITOR TO THE GALLOWS


 BUT HE HAD WRITTEN


 


 The church must fight evil in three stages:


 The first was to question state injustice and call the state to responsibility;


 The second was to help the victims of injustice, whether they were church members or not.


 Ultimately, however, the church might find itself called "not only to help the victims who have fallen under the wheel, but to fall into the spokes of the wheel itself" in order to halt the machinery of injustice


 


 HE HAD ELECTED


TO BE A SPOKE DESTROYER


 HIS MOTTO


 FROM PROVERBS WAS


 


 Open your mouth for the mute


 


 HE REGRETTED THE SUBTERFUGE


 REQUIRED FROM BEING A SPOKE BREAKER


 HE HAD WRITTEN


 

We have been silent witnesses of evil deeds: we have been drenched by many storms; we have learnt the arts of equivocation and pretence; experience has made us suspicious of others and kept us from being truthful and open; intolerable conflicts have worn us down and even made us cynical. Are we still of any use

 


HE FELT CALM

AS HE WALKE

EMITTING PEACE


 Only the one for whom the final standard is not his reason, his principles, his conscience, his freedom, his virtue, but who is ready to sacrifice all these, when in faith and sole allegiance to God he is called to obedient and responsible action: the responsible person, whose life will be nothing but an answer to God's question and call


 

FOR GRACE DID NOT COME CHEAP


 

Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate


 

THE CHURCH HAD SOLD ITS BIRTHRIGHT


IT WANTED CHEAP GRACE


 

The church is the church only when it exists for others. The church must share in the secular problems of ordinary human life, not by dominating but by helping and serving


 


IN HIS REFLECTIONS ON DEATH


 HE WROTE


 

Whenever Christ calls us, his call leads us to death


AND


 This is the end, for me the beginning of life


 

HE WOULD SAY TO US


 

Keep well


Enjoy the beautiful country


Spread joy around you


 And keep it to yourself as well

 


 HE KEEP REPEATING


 


JOY


 JOY


 JOY


 


UNTIL THE ROPE TIGHTENED


 AND HE WAS GONE


 


 Dietrich Bonhoeffer


 


1906-45


 


GERMAN MARTYR UNDER NAZISM


 


 


 


Dietrich Bonhoeffer (February 4, 1906 – April 9, 1945) was a German Christian religious leader and participant in the resistance movement against Nazism. Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran pastor and theologian, took part in the plots being planned by members of the Abwehr (Military Intelligence Office) to assassinate Adolf Hitler. He was arrested, imprisoned, and eventually hanged following the failure of the July 20, 1944 assassination attempt


 


 


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