Prayers for the 1st Sunday after Christmas & the New Year (January 1-6, 2017)

Watchword for the Week – I will recount the gracious deeds of the Lord, the praiseworthy acts of the Lord, because of all that the Lord has done for us. Isaiah 63:7

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel.
For he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them. 

Psalm 148

1 Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights!
2 Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his host!
3 Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars!
4 Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!
5 Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created.
6 He established them forever and ever; he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.
7 Praise the Lord from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps,
8 fire and hail, snow and frost, stormy wind fulfilling his command!9 Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars!
10 Wild animals and all cattle, creeping things and flying birds!
11 Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth!
12 Young men and women alike, old and young together!
13 Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven.
14 He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his faithful, for the people of Israel who are close to him. Praise the Lord!

Confession of Sin (from the Moravian Book of Worship, Liturgy for New Year pages 143-144, used by permission of the IBOC.)

Let us in penitence and humility confess our sins before the throne of grace, praying together:
God of mercy, as we mark this moment, we confess our weaknesses, failures, and transgressions:
Our broken vows,
Our slackness and misuse of time and opportunity,
Our selfishness and our love of ease,
Our unkindness and indifference,
Our self-indulgence and our pleasure taken at the expense of others,
Our moments when we have not be true to ourselves,
Our lack of faith in your providence.
For these sins of commission and omission, have mercy upon us. 

Lord Jesus Christ, we remember in your presence our losses and griefs, our hopes and treasures which the departing year has carried away, the disappointments we have known, the friends who are no longer with us and whose steps we shall hear no more. We pray for grace to cherish the spirit which brings good out of evil, and which prevents adversities and sorrows from embittering our hearts. Give us comfort and a deep sense of your goodness in every circumstance of life, and when, despite our good intensions, we fail, be our strength and stay.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. AMEN. 

This now is a time for the reading of a scripture passage.  If you have a copy of the Moravian Daily Texts take time to read today’s texts now, but don’t rush over them as a task to be completed. These are the words that God would have you to cherish for this day. These are words that could transform your life if you allow them to.  So read slowly and deliberately.  Pause at words or phrases that happen to catch your spirit, for these are places where God might be speaking to you. When you have finished with your reading of scriptures, take time to pray for the needs that you present today, for the needs of those you love, and for the needs of a hurting world.  May your time of prayer help you to clarify where God would want you to focus your energy. When you are ready continue with this prayer as follows:

Lord God, Father, hear us as we pray the prayer that you taught your disciples:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever. Amen. 

The message of Christmas is that God has shown his love for us in that while we were yet sinners he sent us his Son, Jesus Christ, to be the forgiveness of our sins.
May our thanks for this most precious gift be shown in the conduct of our lives this coming year.
God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
We give thanks and praise for this most precious gift.
As we look forward to the year that is ahead, we have faith that God will supply every need of ours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
God will fail us never. In our dwelling place God will endure forever. In our mission to serve, God will sustain us always. Amen.

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Prayers for the Nativity of our Lord 2016

Watchword for the Nativity – The law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel.
For he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them. 

Psalm 98

1 O sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things.
His right hand and his holy arm have gotten him victory.
2 The Lord has made known his victory;
he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations
.
3 He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.
4 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
5 Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
with the lyre and the sound of melody.
6 With trumpets and the sound of the horn
make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord.
7 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
the world and those who live in it.
8 Let the floods clap their hands; 
let the hills sing together for joy
9 at the presence of the Lord, for he is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
and the peoples with equity. 

Invitation to Confession
Loving and gracious God, we know of your love for us because you have given us this most precious gift in your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ. Knowing that you forgive those who are willing to admit their shortcomings, we now offer to you our confession of sin.

Confession of Sin:
Forgive us Lord for treating your gift of grace as if it were a misunderstood present. Too often we find ourselves thinking of our own needs instead of seeking to serve our neighbor. Sometimes we neglect the feelings of those most close to us. And as we look beyond our loved ones, we ignore the pressing needs of our society by closing our eyes to poverty and pain and walk the other way. Forgive us, and renew us, gracious Savior. 

Hear the words of our Lord and Savior, “Your sins are forgiven, go and sin no more.”
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. AMEN. 

Take time now for reading the Daily Texts or a passage of Scripture.  Pause to ponder words or phrases that happen to catch your spirit today.  Then spend some time praying for the needs of our hurting world and how the message of Christmas could change the world if we allowed that message to shine through us.  When you are ready, continue with the prayer as follows:

With Mary we exalt you, God our Redeemer:
Luke 1:46-55
46 My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
50 His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. 51 He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; 53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.

God has shown his love for us in that while we were yet sinners he sent us his Son, Jesus Christ, to be the forgiveness of our sins.
We give thanks and praise for this most precious gift.
God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
May our thanks for this most precious gift be shown in the words that we share with those that we find around us this day, and in the conduct of our lives.
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel. 
For he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them.  Amen.

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Prayers for the 4th Sunday in Advent (December 18-24, 2016)

(Portions of this prayer contain excerpts from the Moravian Book of Worship Liturgy for Christmas, pages 59-63, used by permission of the Moravian Interprovincial Board of Communications)

The Watchword for the Week:
Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; let your face
shine, that we may be saved. Psalm 80:19

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world,
but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19

1 Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock!
You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth
2 before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh.
Stir up your might, and come to save us!
3 Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.
4 O Lord God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?
5 You have fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in full measure.
6 You make us the scorn of our neighbors; our enemies laugh among themselves.
7 Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.
17 But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand, the one whom you made strong for yourself. 
18 Then we will never turn back from you;
give us life, and we will call on your name.
19 Restore us, O Lord God of hosts;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.

Invitation to Confession

God has done marvelous things for us, but often the conduct of our lives does not reflect the acceptance of those gifts. Let us acknowledge our sin and our need for a Savior.

Confession of Sin:
Saving God, we confess to you our sinfulness. We find ourselves more concerned with self instead of loving you as we ought. We view the world narrowly from our point of view rather than seeking to see others through your eyes. Too often we are indifferent to the feelings of those for whom this season is not a time of joy. You call us to a simple life, but we engage in extravagance, which directs our hearts away from you and from those in need. Forgive us and renew us, gracious Savior. 

God has reached into the darkness of our lives to give us hope for living a new life. Accept the gift of God’s grace today and be transformed.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end, AMEN. 

Reading of the Daily Texts

Prayers of the Community of Faith (spoken and silent)

Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, hear us.
Holy Child of Mary, Savior of the World,
reveal yourself to us.
Help us and save us through the totality of your life:
By your holy incarnation,
By your human birth,
By your pure and blameless childhood,
By your obedience and diligence,
By your humility, meekness, and patience,
By your extreme poverty,
By your grief and sorrows,
By your prayers and tears,
By your having been despised and rejected,
By your cross and suffering,
By your death and burial,
By your triumphant resurrection and ascension.

We marvel, Gracious God, at the mystery of your incarnation.
Why would you choose to be born into poverty, with a family far from home, and seemingly ill prepared for your arrival?
Why would you choose a forgotten village in a forgotten corner of the world?
Why would you choose to be born in a cave full of cattle, and take a manger for your crib?
Could it be that through this unlikely birth you would reach out and choose even us to be your children?
Could it be that you would reach out and choose even me?
Restore us, O Lord God of hosts;
let your face shine, that we may be saved
The Holy One has done great things for us,
and holy is his name. Thanks be to God! Amen.

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Prayers for the 3rd Week of Advent (December 11-17, 2016)

The Watchword for the Week:
Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. Isaiah 35:4

Stir up our hearts, O Lord,
to prepare the paths for your Only-begotten Son:
that we may worthily serve you
with hearts purified by His coming.

Psalm 146:5-10

5 Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God, 
6
 who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever;
7 who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free;
8 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over the strangers; he upholds the orphan and the widow, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
10 The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the Lord!

Invitation to Confession

We heed the challenge of John the Baptist to make straight the paths of our lives so that the coming Messiah might find His way into our hearts. Knowing that the Christ Child was born so that our sins might be forgiven we now lay those sins and their burdens upon the throne of Grace.

Confession of Sin:
Forgive us loving God for the winding path upon which you have to travel to find us. As we bend to the selfish influences of our culture we lose sight of your intended will for us. Too often we live by fear rather than by faith because we underestimate your power to heal the parts of us that are broken, and to correct the parts of us that have drifted from your influence. Bring us back to you so that we might respond to your Grace by sharing it with others. Give us the courage to give you unhindered access to all of who we are. 

Comfort, comfort my people says your God. Speak tenderly to them and proclaim that they have suffered long enough, that their penalty is paid, and their sins are forgiven.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. AMEN. 

This now is a time for the reading of a scripture passage.  If you have a copy of the Moravian Daily Texts take time to read today’s texts now, but don’t rush over them as a task to be completed. These are the words that God would have you to cherish for this day. These are words that could transform your life if you allow them to.  So read slowly and deliberately.  Pause at words or phrases that happen to catch your spirit, for these are places where God might be speaking to you. When you have finished with your reading of scriptures, take time to pray for the needs that you present today, for the needs of those you love, and for the needs of a hurting world.  May your time of prayer help you to clarify where God would want you to focus your energy. When you are ready continue with this prayer as follows:

Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, hear us. 

Giver of life and grace who dwells in heavens, we lift our praise to you. We pray that the ways of heaven might be made real in our earthly lives as we, your children, seek to do your will. Give us today the food that we need. Forgive us as we seek to forgive those around us, and as we fix our eyes on you, keep us from temptation, and deliver us from evil influences. For this is your world, and to you is due all honor, and glory, and praise forever and ever. Amen. 

ISAIAH 40:30-31
Even those who are young grow weak;
the young can fall exhausted.
But those who wait on the Lord for help
will find their strength renewed.
They will rise on wings like eagles;
they will run and not get weary; they will walk and not grow weak.

Christ, the Light of the world, empower us to shine as lights in this dark world of sin. 
Christ, lead us into good stewardship of creation that we and our children may preserve and enjoy the world entrusted to us.
O Emmanuel, God with Us, Jesus Christ, desire of every nation, Savior of all peoples,
come and dwell within our hearts and lives.
We praise you, for you are good,
And your mercy endures forever. Amen.

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Prayers for the Second Sunday of Advent (December 3-9, 2016)

The Watchword for the Week:
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near. Matthew 3:2

Come, all who labor and are heavy laden.
Come, all who are lost and in need of a home.
Come, all who have faced their weakness and sins.
Rejoice greatly, shout for joy! See, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and brings salvation. 

Psalm 72:1-7,18-19
Give the ruler your justice, O God,
and your righteousness to a ruler’s heir.
May the ruler judge your people with righteousness,
   and your poor with justice.
May the mountains yield prosperity for the people,
and the hills, in righteousness.
May the ruler defend the cause of the poor of the people,
give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor.
May the ruler live while the sun endures,
and as long as the moon, throughout all generations.
May the ruler be like rain that falls on the mown grass,
like showers that water the earth.
In the ruler’s days may righteousness flourish
   and peace abound, until the moon is no more.
Blessed be the Sovereign, the God of Israel,
who alone does wondrous things.
Blessed be God’s glorious name forever;
   may the whole earth be filled with God’s glory.
Amen and Amen.
Amen and Amen.

Hear the voice of John the Baptist calling to us from the wilderness, challenging us to prepare the way for the coming Messiah, to repent and to make the pathway to our heart a straight one.

Holy God, we know that you want to come and walk with us through the journey of our lives. You send to us a Savior who seeks to offer us not only an eternal home but also the pattern for the living of our daily lives. Forgive us for the times when we have turned our back on your invitation and have chosen to walk our own way. Forgive us for the times when we make the path into our hearts a steep one, making it hard for you to enter. Forgive us when treat even our loved ones with an unforgiving spirit. Forgive us when we busy our lives with diversions that deflect our attention from you. We invite your Holy Spirit to dwell within us and to bring us close to you this day. 

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to them and proclaim that they have suffered long enough, that their penalty is paid, and their sins are forgiven.

We give thanks to the one who creates us, we give thanks to the one who redeems us, we give thanks to the one who brings the spirit of holiness to us today. Amen. 

This now is a time for the reading of a scripture passage.  If you have a copy of the Moravian Daily Texts take time to read today’s texts now, but don’t rush over them as a task to be completed. These are the words that God would have you to cherish for this day. These are words that could transform your life if you allow them to.  So read slowly and deliberately.  Pause at words or phrases that happen to catch your spirit, for these are places where God might be speaking to you. When you have finished with your reading of scriptures, take time to pray for the needs that you present today, for the needs of those you love, and for the needs of a hurting world.  May your time of prayer help you to clarify where God would want you to focus your energy. When you are ready continue with this prayer as follows:

O Lord, Hear our Prayer:

Giver of life and grace who dwells in heavens, we lift our praise to you. We pray that the ways of heaven might be made real in our earthly lives as we, your children, seek to do your will. Give us today the food that we need. Forgive us as we seek to forgive those around us, and as we fix our eyes on you, keep us from temptation, and deliver us from evil influences. For this is your world, and to you is due all honor, and glory, and praise forever and ever. Amen. 

O Emmanuel, God with Us, Jesus Christ, desire of every nation,
come to earth we pray.
Shepherd of all humanity, and Savior of our souls
give us rest in your arms today.
Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth.
You alone are the most high, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father.
Come Lord Jesus,
Open our hearts to welcome you, let the Word become flesh in our hearts and in our lives. Amen.

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Prayers for the First Sunday of Advent (November 27-December 3, 2016)

The Watchword for the Week – Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord! Isaiah 2:5

Sing to the Lord a new song, for God has done marvelous things.
Rejoice greatly, shout for joy! See, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and brings salvation. 

Psalm 122
I was glad when they said to me,    “Let us go to the house of God!”
Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem. Jerusalem—built as a city that is bound firmly together.

To it the tribes go up, the tribes of God,
as was decreed for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of God.

For there the thrones for judgment were set up,
the thrones of the house of David.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May they prosper who love you.

“Peace be within your walls,
and security within your towers.”

For the sake of my relatives and friends
   I will say, “Peace be within you.”

For the sake of the house of the Sovereign our God,
   I will seek your good.

Hear the voice of John the Baptist calling to us from the wilderness, challenging us to prepare the way for the coming Messiah, to repent and to make our paths straight.

Gracious God, this Advent season stirs a longing to have Christ come alive within us, yet we allow ourselves to become enslaved to cynicism, selfishness, and greed. In a season for freely giving and receiving, we tend to live by debt and obligation. We rush from task to task, scarcely opening our eyes to the peace and beauty around us. We sing of one who was laid in a borrowed manger, but we ignore the poor and homeless around us. We decry the violence of a wicked king, yet we are too often silent in the face of abuse and injustice around us. For this and all our sins, forgive us. 

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to them and proclaim that they have suffered long enough, that their penalty is paid, and their sins are forgiven.

We are forgiven, may God lead us to live a new and nobler life today. Thanks be to God. 

This now is a time for the reading of a scripture passage.  If you have a copy of the Moravian Daily Texts take time to read today’s texts now, but don’t rush over them as a task to be completed. These are the words that God would have you to cherish for this day. These are words that could transform your life if you allow them to.  So read slowly and deliberately.  Pause at words or phrases that happen to catch your spirit, for these are places where God might be speaking to you. When you have finished with your reading of scriptures, take time to pray for the needs that you present today, for the needs of those you love, and for the needs of a hurting world.  May your time of prayer help you to clarify where God would want you to focus your energy. When you are ready continue with this prayer as follows:

O Lord, Hear our Prayer:

Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.
Amen.

Christ, the Light of the world, empower us to shine as lights in this dark world of sin. Christ, lead us into good stewardship of creation that we and our children may preserve and enjoy the world entrusted to us.
O Emmanuel, God with Us, Jesus Christ, desire of every nation, Savior of all peoples,
come and dwell within our hearts and lives.
We praise you, for you are good,
And your mercy endures forever. Amen.

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Prayers for the Reign of Christ Sunday (November 20-December 3, 2016)

The Watchword for the week:

Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted
among the nations, I am exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10

Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid;
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, Today may we perfectly love You, and worthily magnify your holy name,
And now visit us with your Holy Spirit as we open our hearts to you. Amen.

Psalm for the Week: Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
   though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High. 
God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved;
   God will help it when the morning dawns. 
The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;
God’s voice resounds and the earth melts. 
The God of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Come, behold the works of God;
see what desolations God has brought on the earth. 
God makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
God breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;
God burns the shields with fire. 

“Be still, and know that I am God!
   I am exalted among the nations,
I am exalted in the earth.” 

The God of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.

We come before the throne of grace to unburden our hearts and to receive forgiveness. Let us confess our sin.
Gracious God, we affirm you as our creator, our redeemer, and the sustainer of our lives. You love us so very much that you have reached into our lives to claim us as your own. We confess however that we take your love for granted, and your grace is often forgotten. We allow our lives to become so cluttered that we forget to stop and count the steps that we have taken, and ponder whether those steps have moved us closer or farther away from you. In so doing we often find that we have forgotten your place in our lives. We humbly ask that you would hear our prayer, know our hearts, and forgive us our sin. 

The Lord says to each of us: “I will be merciful to your sins, and I will not remember them. Peace be unto you.” Let us give praise to the triune God:

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. 

This now is a time for the reading of a scripture passage.  If you have a copy of the Moravian Daily Texts take time to read today’s texts now, but don’t rush over them as a task to be completed. These are the words that God would have you to cherish for this day. These are words that could transform your life if you allow them to.  So read slowly and deliberately.  Pause at words or phrases that happen to catch your spirit, for these are places where God might be speaking to you. When you have finished with your reading of scriptures, take time to pray for the needs that you present today, for the needs of those you love, and for the needs of a hurting world.  May your time of prayer help you to clarify where God would want you to focus your energy. When you are ready continue with this prayer as follows:

Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, hear us. 

Creator of us all, we praise your name because you have lovingly made each one of us. May your intended purpose be made real here on earth, even as it is already done in heaven. Feed us today with those things that we truly need, and may we share our abundance with others. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who have done wrong to us. In times of temptation, may we know of your life-giving strength, and keep us from all evil. Gracious God, this is your kingdom, and we acknowledge your power and glory, both now and forever more. AMEN. 

Empowering God, just as you created the heavens and the earth,
May you create within us a new life.
Open the eyes of our hearts
To see the impact that our every word and action can have on the lives around us.
You give us each day as a blessed gift.
Guide us and lead us to place you at the center of our lives and make this day count for the kingdom of God.
May the love of God, the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
Be and abide with us now and forever. AMEN.

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