Tag Archives: gentile

Worship defined

This word has a plethora of misunderstandings.

I believe it needs to have more discussion within the assembly of believers.

There are some discrepancies in the the usage of the action. What are the issues of it are, I believe are the use of tradition and stealing of usage from the gentile gods. We will start with the ‘tradition’ issue first.

All throughout the old testament, the ‘worship’ was thought of as ‘where God was’, This concept was instituted only because of mankind’s banishment of the Garden of Eden where the heavenly reign of God was with man, walking and talking together. It was to be a ever expanding realm of God thru the multiplying of mankind. It was then that things changed to be one of a ‘pinpoint’ of a location for man to start again from a central location with God there also. This was the Temple. God was there. It also was the location where God’s chosen people to begin again to become the ‘image’ of God and to then ‘multiply’ to the whole world. It was a plan of re-commitment from God’s people to be who they were meant to be.

This ‘place’ where God was, was also the place of ‘sacrificing’ for the being of God’s people. It was a daily chore, a seasonal chore, and a yearly chore for being with God to ‘right the ship’ sorta way. This was an full blown production of the people’s lives with living for the sacrificing of an individual’s livestock,produce and time. It was also an investment for the people as a whole to sacrifice to the ‘temple’ as a nation of Israel. This ceremonial process was a never ending ritual. It was always to be giving God the first of everything that the person,family, or nation had, whether it be livestock,produce or themselves, to institute the meaning of God’s desire for himself to be first in their minds.

Another form of ‘Worshiping’ was by the pagan worshipers of the plethora of gods that they had in other nations. These rituals were similar to the forms of some sects of the jewish people. It was this that God chastised them for the ways of the world for being wrong.

It is then that the ‘Christianity’ movement was instituted at Pentecost and the formulation of ‘laws’,beliefs, everything to this ‘new’ religion was being made on the fly to keep it going. With the beginning of this movement coming from the perspective of the jewish religion, it was as a way to keep things rolling, would use those things of the jewish rituals. There was some alterations on what laws to keep from the Jewish sect tho. What is perceived as a would be normal transition to use the same things of the Jewish ‘worship’ of going to the temple, after all, that’s where ‘God’ was for the Jews, right. But I will take the hint from the scriptures, that this was not an option for the most part. It is said that ‘they’ christians would ‘meet’ in one another’s homes for the partaking of food and fellowship. This also was at times a struggle in the meeting at all with still the beginning of persecution of the ‘Jews’ and also from the Romans. It would eventually be able to use as a meeting place at ‘halls’ of publicly held meetings, thru the instituting of ‘christianity’ as an ‘association’.

The quote ‘practice of Worship’ was to be redefined by the ‘new sect’ of religion by it’s not ‘going to where God was’ to something else. This is where it gets tricky and messy, there are various convictions or beliefs that surrounded different camps of the newly formed people. First, there was different understandings of this subject, but the two main ones were from Paul and Peter. Let me just say that the one that we are using today is from Peter. The Hierarchical institutional one, with either a layered institution of Priests and the proclaimed ‘Universal’ church, with the much smaller hierarchy of just one leader with followers under him or her.

Let me quote scripture here to throw into the mix to see if maybe we are not seeing things right.

1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

The Revised Standard Version (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1971), Ac 2:1–4.

14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day; 16 but this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17 ‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
18 yea, and on my menservants and my maidservants in those days
I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.

The Revised Standard Version (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1971), Ac 2:14–18.

As I read this I notice that there is a ‘hand off’ of authority from Jesus to the ‘Holy Spirit’. What I don’t see is the need for any other form of leadership or institution made by man. There was one such group in this time frame that was doing such as this, being led by the Holy Spirit in their individual lives and their life as a group. This in my opinion is the misstep that christianity has taken, in furthering God’s calling of his people.

It is the following of the ‘institutional’ paradigm that has gotten us into alot of trouble in both of the beliefs. I believe that Paul was not as direct in saying a ‘meeting place’ was necessary for the continuance of the faith. It was the understanding that Jesus’s Spirit would be the guiding light of his people. God’s people would be of a ‘New Being’ that would not be left alone in the world to fight the evil, but the Holy Spirit was a ‘light upon our feet’.

This action would be our ‘Worship’ of being in Christ, and Christ in Us. This is the ‘action’ of ‘Worshiping’ our God.

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Tread lightly, my son…

I am a ‘abyie-normal'(reference to a statement in ‘Young Frankenstein’ kind of person. I am always swimming upstream in alot of arena’s. Religion is one of them. I will go up against the norm to challenge it to let it stand up to ‘not persecution’ but to ‘pillars of truth’.

I find it funny and at the same time, sad, that it would come to this but it always what happens when something ‘different’ or ‘new’ to someone when it is challenged to someone’s theology or institution.The ‘log’ that impedes our eyesight is that we not ‘see’ but that we haven’t ‘seen’, because we have been “soundbit’n” for over 500+ years thru the channels of the ‘church’.

Let me expound on this, a Pastor is person that is trying to speak to one small snippet of scripture of a theme,human righteousness, a story, or even a exegesis of a few verses. This paradigm is flawed. It is not using a Corporate Narrative to the Word of God. It(church) cannot ever work this way. The ‘Message’ or ‘Narrative’ cannot be told in a million soundbites over countless Sundays.

I am not sure if it possible to do this with any “Message” to the whole world at a level of this enormous level at a time. But what I do believe that as ‘hearers’ of the Word, or the ‘readers’ of the Word, that we(all) can finally ‘see’ the narrative of God’s story. I believe by starting from the beginning of the story and methodically seeing what God is moving the story along to get to his final scene, that Rest will come to Him.

It is the sincerity of the believers that will bring this mission of uniting all of us to the true Gospel to the World. Reading God’s word with the intent of ‘seeing’ Genesis 1-2 as God’s defining moment of His Kingdom. Realizing that God’s plan for all to be indwelt in the Holy Spirit as is His Son, thus given the title “Sons of God” a reality for all.

My skepticism of the current model is with alot of evidence to this reality of the ‘church'(assembly), one aspect of this would be the fact that the ‘disciples’ have no knowledge of the scriptures after 40+ yrs in the building that was supposed to do this exact thing, learn the word! There seems to be no rhyme or reason of the ‘teaching’ of the word, skipping from here to there in the bible, without any obvious relation to each other. Not realizing that the ‘sole’ issue of the bible starts at the beginning of the narrative, Genesis 1-2, has just been a blind spot from the very beginning of the reformation to now. Although, there seems to be some light shining from this corner, that is gaining some steam to see that this is where the story begins and that it is the Catalyst for the rest of the narrative til the final two chapters in the bible.

It is because we have been down the wrong road from the ‘Y’ intersection that we have missed the wrong message of christianity. It wasn’t about ‘trying’ to get to ‘Heaven’, but it was about having a ‘people’ holy enough to have ‘Heaven’ be on earth as the ‘New Creation’ or the New Kingdom of God.

This concept is now being realized in many of the roads outside the corner church’s, and even in some, it is realized inside the church’s. This is the beginning of what I believe to be the light that will have to be seen not only to the christians inside the building, but also outside in the road’s and highways of the world.

What has really surprised me in all this transfiguration of events is that it was not ‘seen’ sooner. When I have read the bible thru my own studies, I, one, have had problems ‘seeing’ the message that I always was given on sunday morning, there was no evidence of it to be seen. Secondly, I was seeing in plain site the real eternal purpose of God in front of me in the scriptures. Which leads me to another interesting observance of God.

Thru my studying and my involvement with other bible enthusiasts, I have had many ‘words’ used to describe things in the bible. One, being ‘hardened’, which was used in another topical discussion. But it got to me in thinking about it and the usage in the bible, especially in the Old Testament, it was used quite frequently for different times that God was having to deal with individual people or an entity of a group. I believe that God ‘hardened’ Israel to not ‘see’ their Messiah(Jesus) during a prolonged time until it was to be a ‘eye opening’ moment for the Whole World to observe in an Act of God to Showcase His Son, the Savior of the World!!

It is at this time, that the World will come to Him(thru Israel) the servant King to unite all(Israel,Gentile) to come and bow down to the God of All!!

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Two shall become one

You probably have heard this phrase a million times over your life in various ways.

If you are married, you probably heard it in your ceremony of nuptials. This is the allegoric phrase that is used to say that two married will come together as one in union to live as one. It is, as always a phrase that is used to point out a union, a mixing of things to become one in whatever instance it is used.

This “Two shall become one” is again used in the story of God and His people. But two people would you be talking about? For those people that are familiar with the story of God and Gospel of the New Testament, their is a distinction of two people that defined as God’s people and ‘Gentiles'( those that weren’t God’s people), it was that simple. The story of ‘God’s people tho is a long and drug out story of the ups and downs of a people that were supposed to committed to a covenant with their God. It is this story that I would like to tell a side that has not been really told or understood in our storyline of the Gospel.

The storyline that has been really emphasized is the one of the gentiles and their struggle to leave their idols and gods behind them and to know the God of Abraham. This story has been told and retold and summarized, pulpit beating, Hell threatened, God is coming, Satan is after us to who all else knows! But I think that we may have missed something that might be key to our understanding to our side of the equation of the two becoming the one. It is what the other side is told to give up, for they were given a “new and better way of doing the thing of worship”.

I would like to point out here that this is probably true coming from the other side from the Jewish to the ‘gentile’ issues. But I think maybe on both sides we have a bigger issue that also needs to be addressed, and that is lack of digging deeper into what Paul was saying in the scriptures, about the reason that God sent his son and what that meant to ‘God’s people’ and also to the gentiles. But we will dig deep into just the one side of it. The Jewish side of it.

For the Israelite’s it was a stay the same for them scenario, Jesus’ arrival onto the scene, didn’t change anything for them(Religious authorities),they were looking for the proverbial ‘Knight on the white horse’ to save them from the bondage that they were facing in the Roman world. But whether they believed it or not, it was so. It was a different story with the ranks below them that some believed the God of Abraham had sent his Son to dwell with them to bring them out of slavery.

It was the ones that believed within the Israelite’s(also the gentiles,but just talking about the Israelite’s) that were told that their ‘ way’ of being marked as a God image was changed. It would not be the sacraments that they were used to. No longer would they be ‘officially’ God’s people by the circumcision of the men, the mandatory food laws to be strictly enforced, the Temple would not be the building that they where used to by their Kings of their forefathers, no, it was to be ‘Christ in Us’, and as a bonus togetherness, we would be ‘in Christ’! This would be so wonderful for God’s people(also for the Gentiles). But the problem for the people of God this was so irrational, and goes against what God has told them over and over again thru their forefathers. This was also a very humanistic solution for man’s problem. It was a solution for whole world, that would say that it would only take the right man to put in power to solve the problem.

God’s solution was better, It was Him.

Let’s go back to the solution for the Israelite’s and what the Gentiles and I mean mainly the christians that have heard the gospel, that it seems that we have took up the ways of old, and are working withing the system of the Israelite’s, we have gone back into slavery, which Paul was telling the believers of Jewish background that they kept going back into, but why?

It is this problematic scenario of the christian believers now that have fallen back into the ways of old, that we can’t go back into the old covenant. We are in the ‘New Covenant’! Jesus’ death and resurrection has brought us into the New Covenant!! It is New!

Let’s look at the three thing that I believe that ‘We’ as christians have been ‘working within the parameters of the old covenant and trying to work as tho we were in the New Covenant! You can’t. It’s stupid to think that we could. I believe we either didn’t realize we were doing this or we ‘really didn’t know we were doing it’.

Circumcision, let’s face it this is an outside ‘marker’ of God’s people, but it was ‘hidden’ within the world. This is in itself not a ‘saving gesture’ of God.

Food laws, is in reality a very life changing thing for anyone, let alone for the Jewish sect of God’s people. This commandment was a ‘gesture’ of putting them in the world as ‘different’, it was at first a good thing, to ‘see’ you God’s people were. But in itself was not going to be a ‘saving gesture’ of God’s plan. It was the plan of the Israelite’s eating with others, because now it would not be an issue of what was ‘clean’ of God. It was now considered ‘all clean’ for everyone.

Now we come to the issue that I think is our biggest stumbling block of all. It is the ‘Temple’. Do you ‘see’ from what I have very briefly said about what happened with Christ’s death and resurrection changed things for both sides. For which neither side has done a very good job of adhering too. But it is gentiles that we are working on now, that we need them to see that what the Israelite’s were giving up, they must also.(the physical temple of God, God changed this thru his Son) We are ‘in Christ, and ‘He is in Us’, this the same action as what the Temple and the High Priest were doing every time they went into the ‘Holy of Holies’ room.

This action is what is needed, along side the other two things that the Jewish people needed to believe that God was not only in them but in everyone in the world, after all everyone is God’s image and likeness!!

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Observations

I am an observer. I have become over the years interested what people say and think, in whatever the circumstance I am in. I listen to people’s conversations on the street, in restaurants, in groups of friends, not just to hear them talk, but to listen to what they are ‘really’ are saying. I have veered off of my original school studies in college of Psychology, but more of a sociology angle of people. Although I was very interested in sociology in high school as well.

This leads me to my love of listening of a plethora of things and topics on Youtube. My playlist covers a gambit of topics that I have chosen to constantly be apprised on. I continually am researching and being aware of things that are currently being discussed, but also the history of things that are always being brought back up for discussion.

My most recent episode of youtube video was a production of someone that decided to venture out on a limb(which I applaud mightily) and ask three individuals of Israel and three individuals from palistine to talk in a setting to talk. The format of the discussion was set up by a host that would ask a question that they would agree or disagree on or just a question of inquiry of state of affairs between the two people. All six people would then walk over to a stool, three stools facing three other stools for a face to face discussion. They could chose to elaborate on their opinion on the question with a rebuttal coming from the other side of the discussion. It was a very civil discussion and very informative.

I have come away with two observations from this video, not about the subjects, but from a more humanity perspective. One, in the discussion after probably thru most of the discussion it came apparent from both sides that the problem of their issue, was that it was the governments on both sides were getting in the way of what the people wanted out of the whole issue. It was like if the people could talk to each other as a whole that they could come to a resolution in a matter of minutes. What was also apparent that these six people were from the opposite sides of conflict in their views, that they were not acting as an enemy after the talks, but were one on one talking with each other about various subjects that they had discussed earlier.

The second observation, was a brilliant move by the creators of this experiment( I again want to stand up and give them an ovation for what they did), their cementing of the end result of what the creators knew what would happen in their discussions of the actual participants of the parties involved, would not be going at their adversarial throats or even attacking each other in hatred. They knew the outcome!

After the questions had all been asked and discussed by all and the answers were satisfactory understood, there was a surprise to all six participants.

They were treated to a formal dinner brought in to them for them to sup together! All six of the individuals said they would enjoy the meal together! Is this just ridiculous? Two enemies sitting together and eating together as if nothing between them mattered! They were after all just eating a meal together! But what about the things that they were fighting about in the real world? They were enemies, fighting from afar and from side to side,they were standing up for their beliefs on the issues. How could this happen, people on the opposite sides, sitting down to eat together!

I want to expand on this last point with a couple of expansions of the point. One of the realities of the discussion is the intrusion of the government into the equation. It is the ulterior motives of the government that always gets in the way of things, but it is the people that are in the middle of things, that seem to not understand the fundamental needs of the people of just getting along with each other and just living their lives. For the people as a whole wish to live together in harmony.

The last point I wish to expound on is what happened at the end of the questions put on the six people of the video on youtube. The Meal.

I can’t enough say that this event is and was a powerful statement to mankind, but even more to the audience of christianity. I will now tell you that we have to go back to the New Testament and the story of Paul and Peter in Antioch of the actual historical confrontation but also the allegoric meaning of this story.

The story of Paul and his mission to the people of Antioch was the harmony of the message was the same within the gospel being taught. A key element was the justification of who was apart of the gospel? The answer was everyone. Jew and Gentile(anyone not Jewish), The chosen people were now not just for the people of Israel but of the whole world. This picture was realized in the actual sitting down with everyone involved in the gospel and eating with them. It was a cementing statement in a picture of sorts.

It is when Peter and Paul both understood this element of the gospel, and their evangelizing to all that were concerned to know the gospel. To really understand this soon to be confrontation in context we have to understand that it was Peter that was considered to be the leader of the assembly in Jerusalem, along with James.

But it is when James and a party of his men come to antioch to check on the people of antioch for themselves and see that Peter quickly arise from the table of the gentiles to sit with the jews to eat his meal that causes a scene. Paul, having seen what had happened, chastises Peter for not staying with the gentiles to eat and escaping to sit with his fellow jews. This was not the gospel! and Paul told him so.

It was almost a story within a story to this altercation. Why did Peter do what he did? Was he only standing for his convictions when he was with Paul, or did he not really believe that the gospel was just for the Jews? It was James and his party that were being put on trial in sorts because is this the way that the assembly in Jerusalem believed. This last part will have to be for a later time to delve into for a separate blog.

It is my opinion in this matter that this was a sign of Paul and Peter going their separate ways of understanding of the gospel. This matter in this story is not often really dug into for the real issues driving the story along. I honestly believe that Paul and Peter were not on the same page of the gospel. There was a divide of the gospel stemming from the ‘church’ in Jerusalem and all the other church’s, especially the ones started with Paul.

We will further talk about this story in coming blogs to maybe clear up some things between Paul and Peter.

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Backstory!

Do you ever come across something in your bible study that goes against your belief that you have now?

This is happening to me in a lot of studying that I have been doing in the last seven years. I am not on purpose looking for things that are obviously different, but I am looking at the foundation of the christian faith and how it started. It is different from what we see now in our ‘christian’  life.

I know that statement comes out of left field, for some, but you must stop and think and relook at the scriptures, and also the back story of christianity, to get the actual meaning of the scriptures. Back story is very,very important, do not take it lightly, no matter what somebody tells you. You see, only now when someone tells you a story today, and they tell you about something happened to them and what it made them do,say, or react can you totally understand how they would tell the story, you know the background of it all.

But if I was to tell you, a story, from the early 1800’s, you would need to know some background of the story to fully understand on why,where,how, when,and what was going on in my story, or else you would come to some different perspective of the story than I  wanted you to get.  So it is with the same argument that we must use to understand the story of the scriptures. I believe this with all of my heart that this is why we have come with some different messages throughout our reading of the word.

Reading of a back story in a time period and of a society, does not infringe on anything of the bible’s authoritative premise, but it enhances the story to let us be fully aware of what was going on and why. “……and you were there!” is an appropriate phrase to use if we were to put ourselves in the ‘biblical narrative’  in real-time. It would just blow our socks off, if we were to be tele-ported into the scenes of biblical times. I am also convinced that we would come away from the biblical story with a lot of different belief’s and understandings.

It is sometimes frowned upon in some christian circles to not look at or use any ‘outside material’ to further ourselves in biblical knowledge. But what is not understood with biblical studies is that we have taken everything for face value, or the black and white of it. This will just not do!! We need to just go back 200 yrs to see that things changed on the way we perceived things and the reformation parted ways with Catholicism. It is with Martin Luther and John Calvin, that led the way with a different belief system in the scriptures.

This is even more reason to  further ‘your’ study, not anyone’s, or anyone’s group but your’s to make it concrete in your belief. This method of searching the scriptures about the people,land,leaders,societies,gods,kingdoms,kings,rulers, and beliefs will ultimately make God’s story come alive!!

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The Church is…………………..

Christians, We have a problem!

Our identity is in disarray? And it’s our fault.

The looseness of our use of the word “church”and our actions,rituals, has and is not defining who we are as Christians. I see to some extent that maybe we have put the cart before the horse. We as christians have assumed that we are exemplifying the attributes of a christ like life, when in fact we are just a very weak example of a concept of a christ like ideal.

First, the realization of what God’s intention of his creations and their purpose from God’s chosen people,the jews, and then to spread the love for all to be included in his purpose. It is where we need to see the real meaning of what God was telling  and showing the children of Israel  that it was all about Him, in everything for everyone. This understanding  for the children was the practice of the details to comply with God’s identity. It was their manual to be “God’s people”, and their was no other way to this identity. This has in some respects bled thru in the christian life.

God gave them the law and it was written in stone!, so it could not and would not change,no additions or subtractions.This is the method that God speaks for his intentions for his people.

Put ourselves in the mindset of a jewish sect in the various kingdoms that they were a subset in that will bring us to the understanding  of their mindset of what God was going to free them from tyrant kingdoms that kept them in slavery. It was to become a flesh issue in their lives, but not an eternal one.

Secondly, with the inclusion of gentiles it was the dissolving of everything that jewish life was all about as to the rituals that ‘God’s people were and what they were. It couldn’t  include the gentiles, unless they succumbed to the rituals of the jews. This is what the issue with Paul and Peter was in the book of Acts. This united group was just not kosher with the jewish elite. It just couldn’t work in so many ways. This pronouncement that the old way of knowing of who God’s select people were, was not by the written and systematic ways of his people, but by who they were in God, and later to be thru Jesus,the messiah.

It is this second realization that we need to see that, we too need to drop our rituals and ways of becoming ‘God’s people’ as did the jewish community had to realize with the addition of the gentiles in the purpose of God. We have become stuck in the ways of our thinking of ‘creating the kingdom’ that we have missed the fact that we are the kingdom because of our belief in Jesus and his messianic life that, He is the new king of the new kingdom that has given us a new life in not the world but of God’s Life!

Christians need to be the ‘light on the hill’ to be reckonized as ‘God’s people’. This will be who Chirst is. Nothing more,nothing less.

The definition of ‘the Church’ is ‘God’s people’. and nothing else.

God’s desire for Adam in the garden was not slavery, but life. Adam chose slavery, God rectified Adam to bring us to life in Christ, which he shows us in Revelation 21-22.

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Who was Paul?

Paul a servant of God who was sought by God.

It has been apparent thru out christianity that Paul was given the dubious title of ‘Pastor’ without any thought of anything else.

I, in my rebellious state and studies, see Paul as more of a ‘Town crier’, Heralder, a MC(Master of Ceremony) or an interpreter.

You see, He was announcing the “Good News”! This after all was what a town crier, or a heralder does. God sought him out while walking to Damascus to ‘use him’ as his town crier(in this case it was a world crier). Paul’s voice and circumstance from where he had been, leads to him being listen to in his claim of ‘Good News’. But it was God thru Paul that was telling the back story of why, and how God was the New King!(see Acts) Paul’s understanding of what had happened with the rich history of the jews and their God,their failure to keep him as their God, looking to other gods to live that brought God to show them that thru Jesus, He was again their future as it was foretold by the prophets that he would be.

The added bonus of Paul’s interpretation of the story  of the jews, was that not only that he was God of Jews, but He was the God of the ‘Gentiles’ too.

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Read it like you were there!

Let me piggyback on the last blog that I wrote.

What we need to realize in our bible reading, is to put ourselves in the scene. God was there, He had His will to be done, His people were there,He was talking to them,showing them,doing things for His people,Israel,Jews, and later the Gentiles.

By putting ourselves in the story-line, realize who you are and feel what God is trying to tell you. We are still God’s people(church,bride) we all need to see the picture of who God is!

Have you noticed that one time in each of the old testament and new testament that God uses one person as the identity of His people(church,bride). Joshua in the OT, and Peter in the NT. This is the example of the Corporate Man that God has in His Will.

Man, communing and fellowshipping with the Triune God!

 

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