Sunday, April 12, 2009

Quem quaeritis?

The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the LORD out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.
Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.
So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.
And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.
Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,
And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.
Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.
For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.
Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.
But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,
And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my LORD, and I know not where they have laid him.
And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the LORD, and that he had spoken these things unto her.

Non est hic; surrexit, sicut praedixerat. Ite, nuntiate quia surrexit de sepulchro.

It is curious to think that the most seismic preternatural event in the history of mankind and the most crucial celebration of the Christian calendar has become just another day for sleeping, shopping, football and DIY. There has always been tension between the world and the Church, but the path of faith is getting harder and the mountains of opposition higher. The United Kingdom is now subject to such an oppressive secularism and militant atheism – both born of a corrupt, debased and amoral Labour government – that persecution is becoming so commonplace that hostilities are ceasing to be newsworthy. God is dead, we are assured. It is time to grow up, become enlightened, take responsibility and put aside childish fantasies and superstition.

But amidst the misrepresentation, lies, criticism, mockery and jeering, it is important to remember the significance of this day. The first disciples, even those who doubted and denied, were so transformed by what they heard and what they saw that they were prepared to die for their faith. They were sure of what they hoped for, and certain of what they could not see. Our persecution is a taste of Calvary.

But he is risen indeed.

Hallelujah!

Cranmer wishes all of his readers and communicants a happy and blessed Easter.

54 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have so many things to add and say, but I can't find a beginning. The Christian journey is literally a door. The door analogy is perfect. I wish I could find a beginning for my thoughts and share them but every time I try, the individual explanations sound crass and superficial.

For me, its the equivalent of the Nirvana which Buddhism teaches, but Christian enlightenment is the ultimate. Its the key to life, the key to death. To be able to hold on to something so powerful, that even when confronting death, there is fulfillment and content in the knowledge that you have completed the rubiks cube in the manner of which it was intended. The very most you can do with your life is to find something and believe in it, then complete the journey, the puzzle by following the rules.

12 April 2009 at 10:34  
Anonymous len said...

There is something that makes Christianity more than a religion, more than an ethic, and more than the idle dream of the sentimental idealist.
Christ did not die simply that you might be saved from a bad conscience or even to remove the stain of past failure, but to "clear the decks" for divine action.You have been told that Christ died to save you.This is gloriously true in a very limited, though vital sense.
In Roman 5:10 we read" If when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life".
The Lord Jesus therefore ministers to you in two distinct ways- He reconciles you to God by His death, and he saves you by His life.
(From The saving life of Christ, by Major Ian Thomas)

12 April 2009 at 10:41  
Anonymous Voyager said...

I had thought the Conservatives brought us Sunday shopping and whereas Early Christians went to the stake to uphold their Faith, today the prelates of the Church prefer abject silence to criticising the state of the nation.

Christ was denied thrice by Peter who later atoned for his apostasy, but apostate priests seem to be sailing up and down the River Lethe sipping from its waters.

Why not have a conflict and rock the boat, make life very hot indeed for the politicians who have led this society to the edge of the cliff in a great lemming rush to the brink ? It is time for some really acerbic and hard-hitting denunciation to send the likes of Polly Toynbee and her smug ilke reeling

12 April 2009 at 11:09  
Anonymous oiznop said...

Happy Easter, Cranmer. You are a daily blessing to us all. Keep up the good work, no matter how steep your own mountain of opposition becomes. He is risen!

12 April 2009 at 11:11  
Anonymous The recusant said...

Non est hic. Surrexit, sicut praedixerat.
Ite nuntiate quia surrexit de sepulchro. Resurrexi, postquam factus homo, tua jussa paterna peregi.

Allelujah Allelujah

12 April 2009 at 12:03  
Blogger tammyswofford said...

He is Risen!

Tammy

12 April 2009 at 12:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Christos aneste!
Alethes aneste kai ophthe Simoni.
Alleluia!

12 April 2009 at 13:23  
Anonymous Hereward said...

Resurrexi et adhuc tecum sum, alleluia!

Haec dies quam fecit Dominus, exultemus et laetemur in ea.

12 April 2009 at 13:29  
Blogger Manfarang said...

If it is an historic event then it would be on a fixed date.

12 April 2009 at 13:34  
Anonymous How Life Began enjoy said...

Happy Easter

12 April 2009 at 13:37  
Blogger John M Ward said...

I can't cope with all that Latin stuff; but I was fortunate enough to watch Dr Robert Schuller's ten-minute (short for him!) talk today that summed it all up in such a way that I have had no qualms about strongly urging non-believers to watch it — both on my own 'blog and on my Facebook page.

12 April 2009 at 14:40  
Blogger King Athelstan said...

Happy Easter Your Grace.

12 April 2009 at 15:09  
Anonymous Hank Petram said...

If it is an historic event then it would be on a fixed date.

Easter does fall on a fixed date, in accordance with a very carefully defined set of rules. It isn’t arbitrarily defined, “Oh, we’ve never had Easter in August, let’s do that this year!”

If by a “fixed Easter” you mean, for example, April 9 – now thought by a majority of New Testament scholars to have been the date of the Sunday following the crucifixion in AD 30 – you would have the problem that it could fall on any one of the seven days of the week. A way to avoid this would be a rule similar to the one governing Advent Sunday, defined as the Sunday falling on or closest to November 30, i.e. between November 27 and December 3. A rule of this kind might, for instance, define Easter Day as the Sunday closest to April 9. Many churchmen, including, I believe, several popes, have indicated at different times that they see no objection in principle to a change of this kind. The only reason why it hasn’t been adopted till now – and quite likely never will be – is that it would tend to provoke schism. There would be a considerable body of the general Christian public who would refuse to go along with the change and would carry on celebrating Easter under the present rules.

12 April 2009 at 15:39  
Anonymous Preacher said...

God Bless you Your Grace & ALL your communicants. Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again. Let us approach the future with the boldness of His first disciples, in constant communion with the LIVING God through the Holy Spirit, cleansed by the Blood of Jesus Christ Our Saviour, Who was dead and is alive for evermore.
And a personal thank You for your work & effort in bringing this daily site to fruitition, God Bless You.

12 April 2009 at 16:28  
Blogger Swordsman said...

Magna est veritas, et praevalet.

12 April 2009 at 16:39  
Blogger Dr.D said...

Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

A blessed and holy Easter to all.

12 April 2009 at 17:29  
Blogger Catholic Observer said...

I rejoice to see His Grace mixing a bit of the aul' Latin in with the vulgar tongue. Old habits clearly die hard. Keep up such good work Your Grace, and you could soon find yourself with a red zucchetto at the next consistory. It would suit you eminently: red is defintely your colour.

12 April 2009 at 17:53  
Blogger Yossman said...

And yet in the wake of the "God is dead' movement has emerged (and is emerging) in the Snglo-Saxon world a 'die-hard' movement of theistic philosophers that have debunked the 'God is dead' myth and are arguing with tough arguments for the historical reality of the resurrection of Christ.

12 April 2009 at 20:13  
Anonymous martin sewell said...

On the evening of a very enthusiastic and joyous set of services at my Church where we see the attendance growing, by doing the simple things with conviction, may I wish Your Grace and all your Communicants a very happy Easter.

The challenge for the year is simple. To live as if the Resurrection truly matters.( As indeed it does!)

12 April 2009 at 21:29  
Blogger Manfarang said...

Hank Petram
It is strange, with this event having such importance, that the followers of Jesus didn't note the exact date of its occurence.
Why would Christians find it so objectionable for Easter to be on the same day every year?
All this talk of moons shows what it clearly is-an ancient spring festival.

13 April 2009 at 05:18  
Anonymous Voyager said...

It is strange, with this event having such importance, that the followers of Jesus didn't note the exact date of its occurence.

Not really and how would you know ? After all Julian and Gregorian Calendars have made even recent dates look a bit less fixed.

Do we agree on 5th December or 6th January as a "fixed date" for Christmas ? Does it matter ?

13 April 2009 at 06:49  
Anonymous not a machine said...

it is strange that the way the lord speaks to some and the people he uses.

for many years i sat on the fence almost slightly hoping my scientific language would spit out the universal theory of everything and i could not feel so anti current.

i wont elaborate too much , but i was in a service and "somewhere else in prayer" and i could sense god , no second guessing , not rational explanation , but a communion that does not imply that there is only the individual and the mind .

after that , it was splutters and fits , had to sort out some of the charismatic , happy clappy rubbish . once you realise that you have glimpsed god , it is the most compelling process "could the whole universe be suspended in his will ??"

but then for all my lofty thinking , i was at a service where a downs child , clapped and smiled everytime the pastor said "god" , in a noticeable way and you then have to try and work out how god works in the poor.

most of my friends , think its lack of concrete fact or proof means its a just a spin for the gullable.

its not all smiles , sometimes I make mistakes , and its hard to be charitable , and back I go, to having to re think , my weak flesh and trying to make good .

is my life better with my christian faith?? definitely

is it difficult sometimes: ditto

i found philosphy to be more knowledge than love , it is more difficult to love , than to be clever . it requires more of the person .

one day i hope to be more walking with jesus , rather than pick what i like !!

all i can say is god definitely exists and ill go further to say that the trinity offers somthing more detailed and beautifull.

Alliluia christ the saviour who died to break the power of sin in our lives

13 April 2009 at 06:52  
Blogger Manfarang said...

Voyager
"How would you know?"
How would anyone know?There are no references by historians who lived in the first century CE.
BTW No one died in this years crucifixions in the Philippines.(or in any other year for that matter)Of course they are only put on the cross for a very short time but in Roman times some people did survive this form of punishment.

13 April 2009 at 07:22  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Happy Easter, Your Grace. I also tip my hat to the Archbishop of York for taking a stand.

13 April 2009 at 07:37  
Anonymous len said...

Manfarang,
Based on inferences from gospel accounts, Jesus was executed by crucifixion on a friday, and on the 14th day of the jewish month of Nisan under the administration of Pontius Pilate.
Pontius Pilate held his position from 26-36 and the only years when Nisan fell on a friday are 27, 33, and 36 and possibly in 30 depending on when the new moon would have been visible in Jerusalem.Scholars have defended all of the dates.
Muslims believe Jesus merely 'swooned ' on the cross, laughable really because the roman execution squads lives would have been at risk because of the controversy surrounding Jesus and the high publicity He was receiving.( This allegation of'swooning' is a not to clever attempt to negate the Gospel)
As I said roman execution squads were brutal and highly efficient.

13 April 2009 at 08:59  
Anonymous Hereward said...

Manfarang,

There were thousands of cruxifictions all over the empire every year. Why would a historian (of which there were very few) focused primarily on the dealings of the imperial court bother to note, even if it had come to his attention, appeared to all the World just another grubby despatch of a local trouble-maker?

13 April 2009 at 09:09  
Anonymous Hereward said...

Sorry, "crucifixion", "historian sat hundrends of miles away in Italy", "what appeared".

13 April 2009 at 09:16  
Anonymous len said...

Manfarang,
Josephus ben Mattias is the best known Jewish historian.He was born 37 CE.
He records in Antiquities book 18,
Now there was about this time Jesus a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure.He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the gentiles.He was the Christ, and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of christians so named are not extinct to this day.

13 April 2009 at 10:19  
Anonymous Hank Petram said...

All this talk of moons shows what it clearly is-an ancient spring festival.

Not necessarily. At a time when Christianity had spread all over Europe but communications were slow, difficult and dangerous, the spring equinox/full moon formula was simply a mechanism for making sure that all churches everywhere were able to commemorate Easter on the same day.

13 April 2009 at 11:31  
Anonymous Hank Petram said...

Why would Christians find it so objectionable for Easter to be on the same day every year?

Why would beer drinkers find it so objectionable to be served in litres rather than pints? Some people don't like change, that's all.

13 April 2009 at 11:37  
Anonymous Preacher said...

Manfrang, what a popular person you are. All I will add to the others who have answered is, I was more cynical & skeptical than you will ever be. If you really want to know the truth, honestly, then search for it with an open heart & mind, when you've found it, make it known. God Bless.

13 April 2009 at 11:41  
Anonymous Hereward said...

Hank Petram,

Especially if that change is not intrinsically any improvement to an existing functioning system and is imposed by outsiders for their own convenience.

13 April 2009 at 12:39  
Anonymous Hank Petram said...

Especially if that change is not intrinsically any improvement to an existing functioning system and is imposed by outsiders for their own convenience.

My point exactly, Hereward. The current rule for deciding the date of Easter has been an existing functioning system for upwards of 1,685 years.

13 April 2009 at 13:41  
OpenID jamestheless said...

manfarang,

The first century Christians did record the exact date, in their own terms of reference. For a pre-modern people to give the information you are asking for would be as out of character as moderns saying "it happened 15 days after the November full moon, in the seventh year of the administration of Harold Macmillan".

There were very few historians in the first century and the activities of a bizarre fringe sect of barbarians at the periphery of the Empire (one of many) was not of much interest to them.

So much of the literature from that time has been lost. What little we do have has survived by accident and is often incomplete. So we should be even more reluctant than usual to interpret "absence of evidence" as "evidence of absence".

A fixed date for Easter would remove the connection with Passover - Christ as the true Paschal sacrifice, the only one which is acceptable to God. By weakening the link with Jewish practices, it would imply that He is not the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies.

It would also risk being another "fair", "reasonable" and "sensible" change to "outdated practices" which in fact results in confusion and division among the faithful, even schism. (Rome abandoning Latin, some of the Eastern Orthodox Churches changing to the Gregorian Calendar - and I won't even mention the Church of England). Have we Catholic Christians not suffered enough of these already?

13 April 2009 at 13:57  
Blogger Manfarang said...

Len
Not suprisingly the references that you quote have been judged as later Christian forgeries.
Preacher
Truth and popularity are very different things.
Hank
The fact that the Churches cannot agree on having Easter on a certain date each year may show the weakness of the modern Church not its strengh.

13 April 2009 at 14:07  
Blogger Manfarang said...

Jamestheless
Christian Passover seders!
On the 14 Nisan or 15 Nisan?

13 April 2009 at 14:37  
Blogger Dr.D said...

Those who say that Easter should be on a fixed date, some even saying that because it is not it therefore is not a historical event, are overlooking the close connection between the events of Easter and the Jewish Passover. Easter needs to be determined in the same manner as Passover because the historically occurred in the same week. To try to fix the date of Easter at April 9 or any other fixed date would divorce it from Passover and thus cause it to lose its close connection there.

13 April 2009 at 15:16  
Anonymous Hank Petram said...

The fact that the Churches cannot agree on having Easter on a certain date each year may show the weakness of the modern Church not its strengh.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
An ancient saying of great wisdom.

13 April 2009 at 16:19  
OpenID jamestheless said...

Manfarang,

Mea culpa. I admit I overlooked the considerable controversy concerning this point.

Matthew, Mark and Luke imply that the crucifixion took place on 15 Nisan, the day of Passover, which also happened to be the Sabbath and an annual feast, while John states that it happened the day before, to avoid scandalizing the public.

The usual explanation is that the crucifixion happened on Nisan 15, and John employed artistic licence to bring it forward a day, in order to depict Jesus as the true Paschal sacrifice.

However, Pope Benedict raised a very interesting possibility in 2007 during his celebration of Maundy Thursday

His thesis is that Jesus and his disciples followed a traditional calendar similar to the one at Qumran, rather than the more recent one brought in by the Temple priests. According to this calendar, if Passover fell on the Sabbath, the Seder was held a day early, without a lamb.

So, Jesus and his disciples eat their Passover meal at the start of 14 Nisan (in the ancient world, the day started at dusk the previous evening, not at midnight). Jesus dies in the afternoon, 14 Nisan, at the same time as the Passover lambs, and the Temple priests have their Seder in the evening, which is now 15 Nisan.

13 April 2009 at 17:16  
Anonymous len said...

Manfarang
If you don`t believe Josephus try,
Tacitus,
If you don`t believe him
Pliny the Younger,
If you don`t believe him,
Phlegon,
If you don`t believe him,
Lucien,
If you don`t believe him,
Seutonius,,
if you don`t believe him,
Thallus
If you don`t etc,etc,
I suppose history is what you choose to believe?

13 April 2009 at 17:27  
Anonymous Preacher said...

Manfrang, Truth & poularity are indeed two very different things. But only the truth can set you free. Is the date THAT important? surely the event is the main thing, forget the red herrings, explain the empty tomb & the people who were changed so much by these events that they were killed before they'd deny them. Good post though.

13 April 2009 at 21:22  
Blogger Manfarang said...

Preacher
I feel even a journey in the Tardis(Dr.Who's time travel machine)back to the Roman province probably wouldn't solve the issue.The followers of Jesus were a very small group at a time of political volatility.
The message of Jesus was that the Kingdom was at hand.His followers expected it during their lifetimes.
The Roman authorities wanted to get rid of someone they perceived as a trouble maker.
Of more importance than his death was the life and teachings of Jesus.
Maybe new archaeological discoveries will give us more insight such those at Nag Hammadiand the Dead Sea Scrolls.

14 April 2009 at 05:15  
Blogger Manfarang said...

and The Dead Sea Scrolls.

14 April 2009 at 05:18  
OpenID jamestheless said...

"Of more importance than his death was the life and teachings of Jesus."

His death and resurrection were - or rather are - infinitely more important than His teachings. In fact they are the whole "point" of Christianity.

"And if Christ not be raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins". (1 Corinthians 14:17)

14 April 2009 at 07:48  
Blogger Manfarang said...

jamestheless
Jesus never intended to start a new religion.His teaching were aimed at the Jews to improve them for the Kingdom that was at hand.

Was there an earthly paradise in which a man and a women who lived there were immortal?(the Garden of Eden)Was this a real place?Where is/was it?
If it was real then maybe people should become vegetarians as were Adam and Eve.Their diet after all must have been divinely sanctioned.
If the Garden of Eden wasn't a real place then how could we have the Fall of Man?

14 April 2009 at 09:31  
Anonymous Preacher said...

Manfarang, until Pentecost the disciples were still in the dark on timings, when the Holy Spirit was given they understood more, but no man can understand all the mind of God, because the finite has not the capacity to understand the infinite, that's why Jesus told them to wait for the Holy Spirit, so that more of Gods plan would have been revealed.
Without the ressurection the Christian faith would simply not exist, it was this that elevated Jesus above the other 'messiahs' that had come & gone before Him, & enabled them to follow Him to the end. His ressurection was the proof that He had promised them before they entered Jerusalem, in fact He predicted this several times. So dates of religous festivals become somewhat irrelevant in the light of greater revelations, wouldn't you agree?

14 April 2009 at 10:17  
Blogger Manfarang said...

No.
It isn't the dates of festivals that I am really concerned about but when something actually happened.
It is generally accepted that Jesus was a real person.The significance of his death is that it occured in such a manner that the memory of his works and teachings was preserved to some extent by his followers.

14 April 2009 at 13:31  
Anonymous Hereward said...

Manfarang,

Had he just died, that would have been the end of it and no one would have hear of him again (as the authorities hoped). It is because of his resurrection that his followers were emboldened to preach the message of the gospel.

14 April 2009 at 13:44  
Anonymous len said...

I find it interesting that the Apostle Paul( Saul of Tarsus as he was then) had a perfect knowledge of the scriptures, was a pharisee, led a religious life, but he was persecuting christians and had no knowledge of Jesus Christ.
It was only when he met the risen Lord in a blinding flash of light that revelation came to him.
I believe anyone who truly knows the Lord has had a revelation, perhaps not so dramatic, but a revelation nevetheless.
God says" You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13)

14 April 2009 at 18:22  
OpenID jamestheless said...

Manfarang,

"Jesus never intended to start a new religion."

Indeed. He fullfilled the Old Testament prophecy by bringing the new convenant (as promised in Jeremiah 31:31-34)

How did He do this? This takes us back to the Last Supper.

Jesus, the Lamb of God, whose body is the true Temple, broke bread, saying "Take, eat; this is my body". He gave the cup, saying "Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins" (Matthew 26:26-28, abridged)

new testament = new covenant, or, if you prefer, the Kingdom of God.

I would class the account of the Creation as poetry which conveys truths that history or science cannot. Something which leads the reader into prayerful meditation, rather than quibbling over details.

To me it's not critically important whether someone believes that Adam and Eve were

a) The first man and woman, directly created by God,
b) The first primitives to evolve to the point where they could know something was wrong and still do it anyway, or
c) Archetypes who represent the loss of innocence that we all experience as we are led astray by the world.

We are fallen because we (collectively) have free will and have failed to use it as God wishes us to, to love Him with all our heart and soul.

14 April 2009 at 20:52  
Blogger Manfarang said...

And was every one at the time convinced of all of this?Not even his closest followers.

17 April 2009 at 13:03  
Anonymous len said...

John Edie, the 19th century Scottish preacher said" Men without Christ are death walking. The beauties of holiness do not attract man in his moral insensibility, nor do the miseries of Hell deter him"You can talk about Heaven to him, he`s not interested.You can talk about Hell to him, he`s not afraid.Now this kind of man doesn`t need renewal,this kind of man doesn`t need repair, this kind of man doesn`t need restoration, resuscitation, this kind of man needs resurrection. He needs life, because he`s dead.

17 April 2009 at 23:36  
OpenID jamestheless said...

"And was every one at the time convinced of all of this?Not even his closest followers."

This is all set out in Chapter 6 of St John's Gospel, verses 30-66.

Jesus describes himself as the bread of life, sent by the Father from Heaven to give life to the world, contrasting himself to the manna that the Jews ate in the desert, which brought death; anyone who eats his flesh and drinks his blood will have eternal life, while those that do not have no life within them.

The reaction? Many of his disciples said 'This is a hard saying, who can hear it?'

"From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him."

As for those that stayed, St Luke's Gospel says in Chapter 24 that even after the Resurrection they failed to recognise Jesus (verse 16), were reluctant to believe he fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies (vv. 25-26) and needed more instruction on this (vv. 27, 45-47).

So you could say that at the time none of his closest followers were really convinced!

18 April 2009 at 14:10  
Blogger Manfarang said...

Len
The words on Fred Venus'duffle bag.
'I'm sure to go to Heaven because I've been to Hell.
Royal Sussex Regiment
Korea 1950-53'

19 April 2009 at 08:58  

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