First Sunday of
October 5, 2008
Moses said to the people: "You
shall therefore keep all the commandment which I
command you this day, that you may be strong, and go
in and take possession of the land which you are
going over to possess, and that you may live long in
the land which the LORD swore to your fathers to
give to them and to their descendants, a land
flowing with milk and honey. For the land which you
are entering to take possession of it is not like
the land of Egypt, from which you have come, where
you sowed your seed and watered it with your feet,
like a garden of vegetables; but the land which you
are going over to possess is a land of hills and
valleys, which drinks water by the rain from heaven,
a land which the LORD your God cares for; the eyes
of the LORD your God are always upon it, from the
beginning of the year to the end of the year.”
Second Reading: Isaiah 40:1-17
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her
warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the Lord's hand double
for all her sins. A voice cries: "In the wilderness
prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the
desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be
lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough
places a plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be
revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for
the mouth of the Lord has spoken." A voice says,
"Cry!" And I said, "What shall I cry?" All flesh is
grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the
field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the
breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people
is grass. The grass withers, the flower fades; but
the word of our God will stand for ever.
Epistle: 2 Corinthians
For I made up my mind not to make you another
painful visit. For if I cause you pain, who is there
to make me glad but the one whom I have pained? And
I wrote as I did, so that when I came I might not
suffer pain from those who should have made me
rejoice, for I felt sure of all of you, that my joy
would be the joy of you all. For I wrote you out of
much affliction and anguish of heart and with many
tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the
abundant love that I have for you. But if any one
has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in
some measure—not to put it too severely—to you all.
For such a one this punishment by the majority is
enough; so you should rather turn to forgive and
comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive
sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him.
For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and
know whether you are obedient in everything. Any one
whom you forgive, I also forgive. What I have
forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for
your sake in the presence of Christ, to keep Satan
from gaining the advantage over us; for we are not
ignorant of his designs.
Gospel: Matthew 20:1-16
"For the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who
went out early in the morning to hire laborers for
his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a
denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And
going out about the third hour he saw others
standing idle in the market place; and to them he
said, 'You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is
right I will give you.' So they went. Going out
again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he
did the same. And about the eleventh hour he went
out and found others standing; and he said to them,
'Why do you stand here idle all day?' They said to
him, 'Because no one has hired us.' He said to them,
'You go into the vineyard too.' And when evening
came, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward,
'Call the laborers and pay them their wages,
beginning with the last, up to the first.' And when
those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of
them received a denarius. Now when the first came,
they thought they would receive more; but each of
them also received a denarius. And on receiving it
they grumbled at the householder, saying, 'These
last worked only one hour, and you have made them
equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and
the scorching heat.' But he replied to one of them,
'Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree
with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you,
and go; I choose to give to this last as I give to
you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what
belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?' So
the last will be first, and the first last."
Sunday of Moses
October 12, 2008
Reading: Deuteronomy 11:13-12:1
Moses said to the people: "And if you will
obey my commandments which I command you this day, to
love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your
heart and with all your soul, he will give the rain for
your land in its season, the early rain and the later
rain, that you may gather in your grain and your wine
and your oil. And he will give grass in your fields for
your cattle, and you shall eat and be full. Take heed
lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and
serve other gods and worship them, and the anger of the
Lord be kindled against you, and he shut up the heavens,
so that there be no rain, and the land yield no fruit,
and you perish quickly off the good land which the Lord
gives you. Behold, I set before you this day a blessing
and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments
of the Lord your God, which I command you this day, and
the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the
Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I
command you this day, to go after other gods which you
have not known.”
Second Reading: Isaiah 40:18-41:7
Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been
told you from the beginning? Have you not understood
from the foundations of the earth? It is he who sits
above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are
like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a
curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; who
brings princes to nought, and makes the rulers of the
earth as nothing. “To whom then will you compare me,
that I should be like him?” says the Holy One. Lift up
your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who
brings out their host by number, calling them all by
name; by the greatness of his might, and because he is
strong in power not one is missing. Why do you say, O
Jacob, and speak, O Israel, "My way is hid from the
Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God"? Have you
not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the
everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary, his understanding is
Epistle: Galatians 5
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast
therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Now I, Paul, say to you that if you receive
circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I
testify again to every man who receives circumcision
that he is bound to keep the whole law. You are severed
from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you
have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by
faith, we wait for the hope of righteousness. For in
Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is
of any avail, but faith working through love. You were
running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?
This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little
leaven leavens the whole lump. I have confidence in the
Lord that you will take no other view than mine; and he
who is troubling you will bear his judgment, whoever he
is. But if I, brethren, still preach circumcision, why
am I still persecuted? In that case the stumbling block
of the cross has been removed. I wish those who unsettle
you would mutilate themselves! For you were called to
freedom, brethren; only do not use your freedom as an
opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants
of one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one
word, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." But if
you bite and devour one another take heed that you are
not consumed by one another.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the
desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are
against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are
against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other,
to prevent you from doing what you would. But if you are
led by the Spirit you are not under the law. Now the
works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity,
licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife,
jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit,
envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you,
as I warned you before, that those who do such things
shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of
the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;
against such there is no law. And those who belong to
Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions
and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk
by the Spirit. Let us have no self-conceit, no provoking
of one another, no envy of one another.
Gospel: Luke 8:41-end
And there came a man
named Jairus, who was a ruler of the synagogue; and
falling at Jesus' feet he besought him to come to his
house, for he had an only daughter, about twelve years
of age, and she was dying.
As he went, the people pressed round him. And a woman
who had had a flow of blood for twelve years and could
not be healed by any one, came up behind him, and
touched the fringe of his garment; and immediately her
flow of blood ceased. And Jesus said, "Who was it that
touched me?" When all denied it, Peter said, "Master,
the multitudes surround you and press upon you!" But
Jesus said, "Some one touched me; for I perceive that
power has gone forth from me." And when the woman saw
that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling
down before him declared in the presence of all the
people why she had touched him, and how she had been
immediately healed. And he said to her, "Daughter, your
faith has made you well; go in peace."
While he was still speaking, a man from the ruler's
house came and said, "Your daughter is dead; do not
trouble the Teacher any more." But Jesus on hearing this
answered him, "Do not fear; only believe, and she shall
be well." And when he came to the house, he permitted no
one to enter with him, except Peter and John and James,
and the father and mother of the child. And all were
weeping and bewailing her; but he said, "Do not weep;
for she is not dead but sleeping." And they laughed at
him, knowing that she was dead. But taking her by the
hand he called, saying, "Child, arise." And her spirit
returned, and she got up at once; and he directed that
something should be given her to eat. And her parents
were amazed; but he charged them to tell no one what had
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Third Sunday of Moses
October 19, 2008
Deuteronomy 13: 12-18
"If you hear in one of your
cities, which the LORD your God gives you to dwell
there, that certain base fellows have gone out among you
and have drawn away the inhabitants of the city, saying,
`Let us go and serve other gods,' which you have not
known, then you shall inquire and make search and ask
diligently; and behold, if it be true and certain that
such an abominable thing has been done among you, you
shall surely put the inhabitants of that city to the
sword, destroying it utterly, all who are in it and its
cattle, with the edge of the sword. You shall gather all
its spoil into the midst of its open square, and burn
the city and all its spoil with fire, as a whole burnt
offering to the LORD your God; it shall be a heap for
ever, it shall not be built again. None of the devoted
things shall cleave to your hand; that the LORD may turn
from the fierceness of his anger, and show you mercy,
and have compassion on you, and multiply you, as he
swore to your fathers, if you obey the voice of the LORD
your God, keeping all his commandments which I command
you this day, and doing what is right in the sight of
the LORD your God.
Reading: Isaiah 14: 8-20
The cypresses rejoice at you,
the cedars of Lebanon, saying,
Since you were laid low,
no hewer comes up against us.'
Sheol beneath is stirred up
to meet you when you come,
it rouses the shades to greet you,
all who were leaders of the earth;
it raises from their thrones
all who were kings of the nations.
All of them will speak
and say to you:
You too have become as weak as we!
You have become like us!'
Your pomp is brought down to Sheol,
the sound of your harps;
maggots are the bed beneath you,
and worms are your covering.
"How you are fallen from heaven,
O Day Star, son of Dawn!
How you are cut down to the ground,
you who laid the nations low!
You said in your heart,
I will ascend to heaven;
above the stars of God
I will set my throne on high;
I will sit on the mount of assembly
in the far north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will make myself like the Most High.'
But you are brought down to Sheol,
to the depths of the Pit.
Those who see you will stare at you,
and ponder over you:
`Is this the man who made the earth tremble,
who shook kingdoms,
who made the world like a desert
and overthrew its cities,
who did not let his prisoners go home?'
All the kings of the nations lie in glory,
each in his own tomb;
but you are cast out, away from your sepulchre,
like a loathed untimely birth,
clothed with the slain, those pierced by the sword,
who go down to the stones of the Pit,
like a dead body trodden under foot.
You will not be joined with them in burial,
because you have destroyed your land,
you have slain your people.
"May the descendants of evildoers
nevermore be named!
Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who
are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of
gentleness. Look to yourself, lest you too be tempted.
Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of
Christ. For if any one thinks he is something, when he
is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test
his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in
himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each man will
have to bear his own load. Let him who is taught the
word share all good things with him who teaches. Do not
be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows,
that he will also reap. For he who sows to his own flesh
will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to
the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And
let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season
we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.
So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all
men, and especially to those who are of the household of
faith. See with what large letters I am writing to you
with my own hand. It is those who want to make a good
showing in the flesh that would compel you to be
circumcised, and only in order that they may not be
persecuted for the cross of Christ. For even those who
receive circumcision do not themselves keep the law, but
they desire to have you circumcised that they may glory
in your flesh. But far be it from me to glory except in
the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world
has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For
neither circumcision counts for anything, nor
uncircumcision, but a new creation. Peace and mercy be
upon all who walk by this rule, upon the Israel of God.
Henceforth let no man trouble me; for I bear on my body
the marks of Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ
be with your spirit, brethren. Amen.
And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed
him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea,
so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he
was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, "Save,
Lord; we are perishing." And he said to them, "Why are
you afraid, O men of little faith?" Then he rose and
rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great
calm. And the men marveled, saying, "What sort of man is
this, that even winds and sea obey him?" And when he
came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes,
two demoniacs met him, coming out of the tombs, so
fierce that no one could pass that way. And behold, they
cried out, "What have you to do with us, O Son of God?
Have you come here to torment us before the time?" Now a
herd of many swine was feeding at some distance from
them. And the demons begged him, "If you cast us out,
send us away into the herd of swine." And he said to
them, "Go." So they came out and went into the swine;
and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank
into the sea, and perished in the waters.
The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told
everything, and what had happened to the demoniacs. And
behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus; and when
they saw him, they begged him to leave their
neighborhood. And getting into a boat he crossed over
and came to his own city. And behold, they brought to
him a paralytic, lying on his bed; and when Jesus saw
their faith he said to the paralytic, "Take heart, my
son; your sins are forgiven." And behold, some of the
scribes said to themselves, "This man is blaspheming."
But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, "Why do you
think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say,
`Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, `Rise and walk'?
But that you may know that the Son of man has authority
on earth to forgive sins" -- he then said to the
paralytic -- "Rise, take up your bed and go home." And
he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were
afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such
authority to men. As Jesus passed on from there, he saw
a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office; and he
said to him, "Follow me." And he rose and followed him.
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Fourth Sunday of Moses
October 26, 2008
"When the LORD your God
cuts off before you the nations whom you go in to
dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their
land, take heed that you be not ensnared to follow them,
after they have been destroyed before you, and that you
do not inquire about their gods, saying, `How did these
nations serve their gods? -- that I also may do
likewise.' You shall not do so to the LORD your God; for
every abominable thing which the LORD hates they have
done for their gods; for they even burn their sons and
their daughters in the fire to their gods. "Everything
that I command you you shall be careful to do; you shall
not add to it or take from it. "If a prophet arises
among you, or a dreamer of dreams, and gives you a sign
or a wonder, and the sign or wonder which he tells you
comes to pass, and if he says, `Let us go after other
gods,' which you have not known, `and let us serve
them,' you shall not listen to the words of that prophet
or to that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is
testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God
with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall
walk after the LORD your God and fear him, and keep his
commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him
and cleave to him.
But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put
to death, because he has taught rebellion against the
LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt
and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to make
you leave the way in which the LORD your God commanded
you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from the midst
of you. "If your brother, the son of your mother, or
your son, or your daughter, or the wife of your bosom,
or your friend who is as your own soul, entices you
secretly, saying, `Let us go and serve other gods,'
which neither you nor your fathers have known, some of
the gods of the peoples that are round about you,
whether near you or far off from you, from the one end
of the earth to the other, you shall not yield to him or
listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall
you spare him, nor shall you conceal him; but you shall
kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put
him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.
You shall stone him to death with stones, because he
sought to draw you away from the LORD your God, who
brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house
of bondage. And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and
never again do any such wickedness as this among you.
"If you hear in one of your cities, which the LORD your
God gives you to dwell there, that certain base fellows
have gone out among you and have drawn away the
inhabitants of the city, saying, `Let us go and serve
other gods,' which you have not known, then you shall
inquire and make search and ask diligently; and behold,
if it be true and certain that such an abominable thing
has been done among you, you shall surely put the
inhabitants of that city to the sword, destroying it
utterly, all who are in it and its cattle, with the edge
of the sword. You shall gather all its spoil into the
midst of its open square, and burn the city and all its
spoil with fire, as a whole burnt offering to the LORD
your God; it shall be a heap for ever, it shall not be
built again. None of the devoted things shall cleave to
your hand; that the LORD may turn from the fierceness of
his anger, and show you mercy, and have compassion on
you, and multiply you, as he swore to your fathers, if
you obey the voice of the LORD your God, keeping all his
commandments which I command you this day, and doing
what is right in the sight of the LORD your God. "You
are the sons of the LORD your God; you shall not cut
yourselves or make any baldness on your foreheads for
the dead. For you are a people holy to the LORD your
God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for his
own possession, out of all the peoples that are on the
face of the earth.
Reading: Isaiah 41:21-42
your case, says the LORD;
bring your proofs, says the King of Jacob.
Let them bring them, and tell us
what is to happen.
Tell us the former things, what they are,
that we may consider them,
that we may know their outcome;
or declare to us the things to come.
Tell us what is to come hereafter,
that we may know that you are gods;
do good, or do harm,
that we may be dismayed and terrified.
Behold, you are nothing,
and your work is nought;
an abomination is he who chooses you.
I stirred up one from the north, and he has
from the rising of the sun, and he shall call on
he shall trample on rulers as on mortar,
as the potter treads clay.
Who declared it from the beginning, that we
and beforetime, that we might say, "He is
There was none who declared it, none who
none who heard your words.
I first have declared it to Zion,
and I give to Jerusalem a herald of good
But when I look there is no one;
among these there is no counselor
who, when I ask, gives an answer.
Behold, they are all a delusion;
their works are nothing;
their molten images are empty wind.
Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him,
he will bring forth justice to the nations.
He will not cry or lift up his voice,
or make it heard in the street;
a bruised reed he will not break,
and a dimly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.
He will not fail or be discouraged
till he has established justice in the earth;
and the coastlands wait for his law.
Thus says God, the LORD,
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread forth the earth and what comes from
who gives breath to the people upon it
and spirit to those who walk in it:
"I am the LORD, I have called you in
I have taken you by the hand and kept you;
I have given you as a covenant to the people,
a light to the nations,
to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
from the prison those who sit in darkness.
I am the LORD, that is my name;
my glory I give to no other,
nor my praise to graven images.
Behold, the former things have come to pass,
and new things I now declare;
before they spring forth
I tell you of them."
the LORD a new song,
his praise from the end of the earth!
Let the sea roar and all that fills it,
the coastlands and their inhabitants.
Let the desert and its cities lift up their
the villages that Kedar inhabits;
let the inhabitants of Sela sing for joy,
let them shout from the top of the mountains.
Let them give glory to the LORD,
and declare his praise in the coastlands.
The LORD goes forth like a mighty man,
like a man of war he stirs up his fury;
he cries out, he shouts aloud,
he shows himself mighty against his foes.
For a long time I have held my peace,
I have kept still and restrained myself;
now I will cry out like a woman in travail,
I will gasp and pant.
I will lay waste mountains and hills,
and dry up all their herbage;
I will turn the rivers into islands,
and dry up the pools.
And I will lead the blind
in a way that they know not,
in paths that they have not known
I will guide them.
I will turn the darkness before them into light,
the rough places into level ground.
These are the things I will do,
and I will not forsake them.
They shall be turned back and utterly put to
who trust in graven images,
who say to molten images,
"You are our gods."
Hear, you deaf;
and look, you blind, that you may see!
Who is blind but my servant,
or deaf as my messenger whom I send?
Who is blind as my dedicated one,
or blind as the servant of the LORD?
He sees many things, but does not observe them;
his ears are open, but he does not hear.
The LORD was pleased, for his righteousness'
to magnify his law and make it glorious.
But this is a people robbed and plundered,
they are all of them trapped in holes
and hidden in prisons;
they have become a prey with none to rescue,
a spoil with none to say, "Restore!"
Who among you will give ear to this,
will attend and listen for the time to come?
Who gave up Jacob to the spoiler,
and Israel to the robbers?
Was it not the LORD, against whom we have
in whose ways they would not walk,
and whose law they would not obey?
So he poured upon him the heat of his anger
and the might of battle;
it set him on fire round about, but he did not
it burned him, but he did not take it to heart.
Epistle: 1 Timothy 5:1-16
Do not rebuke an older man
but exhort him as you would a father; treat younger men
like brothers, older women like mothers, younger women
like sisters, in all purity. Honor widows who are real
widows. If a widow has children or grandchildren, let
them first learn their religious duty to their own
family and make some return to their parents; for this
is acceptable in the sight of God. She who is a real
widow, and is left all alone, has set her hope on God
and continues in supplications and prayers night and
day; whereas she who is self-indulgent is dead even
while she lives. Command this, so that they may be
without reproach. If any one does not provide for his
relatives, and especially for his own family, he has
disowned the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. Let
a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years
of age, having been the wife of one husband; and she
must be well attested for her good deeds, as one who has
brought up children, shown hospitality, washed the feet
of the saints, relieved the afflicted, and devoted
herself to doing good in every way. But refuse to enroll
younger widows; for when they grow wanton against Christ
they desire to marry, and so they incur condemnation for
having violated their first pledge. Besides that, they
learn to be idlers, gadding about from house to house,
and not only idlers but gossips and busybodies, saying
what they should not. So I would have younger widows
marry, bear children, rule their households, and give
the enemy no occasion to revile us. For some have
already strayed after Satan. If any believing woman has
relatives who are widows, let her assist them; let the
church not be burdened, so that it may assist those who
are real widows.
Gospel: Matthew 12:22-37
Then a blind and dumb demoniac was brought to him, and
he healed him, so that the dumb man spoke and saw. And
all the people were amazed, and said, "Can this be the
Son of David?" But when the Pharisees heard it they
said, "It is only by Be-el'zebul, the prince of demons,
that this man casts out demons." Knowing their thoughts,
he said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself
is laid waste, and no city or house divided against
itself will stand; and if Satan casts out Satan, he is
divided against himself; how then will his kingdom
stand? And if I cast out demons by Be-el'zebul, by whom
do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your
judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast
out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
Or how can one enter a strong man's house and plunder
his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then
indeed he may plunder his house. He who is not with me
is against me, and he who does not gather with me
scatters. Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy
will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the
Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever says a word
against the Son of man will be forgiven; but whoever
speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven,
either in this age or in the age to come. "Either make
the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad,
and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit.
You brood of vipers! how can you speak good, when you
are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the
mouth speaks. The good man out of his good treasure
brings forth good, and the evil man out of his evil
treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of
judgment men will render account for every careless word
they utter; for by your words you will be justified, and
by your words you will be condemned."
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