|Genesis 1:1,2,3||Genesis 2:18,21-24||Matthew 1:3-16||Tamar|
In the beginning, God had support. Therefore, when we pray, we say in the Model prayer, "Thy will be done, in (on) earth, as it is in heaven." I have always believed that whatever is good on earth, whatever is for the uplifting of man on earth, the same is found in heaven. Therefore, if God had support in heaven from His spirit (Genesis 1:2), and His Word (Genesis 1:3), then it stands to reason that Lodges, as well as the individual Mason, need support. In the realm of fund raising programs, in the realm of meaningful projects, what better support can you get than that from the sisters of the Order of the Eastern Star?
Returning to the Bible, the Rule and Guide of our faith and practice, when we look at Genesis 1:16, we see that the Day had support, the sun to rule its daylight hours, the moon to rule its nighttime hours, and the stars to support the moon in its quest to light up the night. The sun is in a generative sense in the scope of things symbolic, while the moon is productive, and the stars become the products of the two. In the Lodge, the Master of the Lodge, called the Worshipful Master, carries the same initials as the Worthy Matron in the Chapter, and is to the Lodge what the Matron is to the Chapter, a symbol of wisdom. It stands to reason then, that to show this wisdom, the two 'WM's should be working together, as the Spirit and the Word worked in support of the Creator. This is later summed up in Genesis 1:26, when God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness..."
In the "CREATION" it is said that God said, "I am lonely." In Genesis 2:20, in the last phrase, "but for Adam there was not found a help meet for him." It is not good for man to be alone, and in the existence of the Lodge, it is still not good for man to be alone. The female, in worldly life, gives meaning and purpose to manhood, and in the Lodge, the female symbol, the Junior Deacon, gives support to the Strength of the Lodge, and the Strength and Support from the West, gives the Worshipful Master the needed assistance he needs for a successful opening and closing of his Lodge.
It is no secret that I give much of whatever success I may have had, or will have, to my wife Gyne, who gives me the necessary support a Grand Master must have in his home and in his mind especially. The Craft does not have the patience and enduring power of a 'help meet' and is not expected to, but, when the Craft has gotten on that 'last nerve', there is the soothing voice of support coming from the wife. It is the wife that has been the support troops, the Quartermaster Corps, making sure that the gloves are cleaned, the bowties are in place, the black or dark blue suit is cleaned. It is this support that gives a cheerful greeting when the sisters or the brothers call, in a foul mood, and probably use a few 'Sunday School Words' which I never hear about.
A wife is the Rear Guard that watches over the family when the 'general' is off inspecting the 'other' troops, spreading her wings of protection over the brood, and let me tell you, eight is a very large 'brood.'
God took woman from man, in the form of a rib, and what is a rib? It supports the heart, by becoming a barrier, a fortress about the important organ called the heart. It is the continuation of the bone structure that forms the chest cavity, the cage that holds the "sanctuary" of man, the Holy Place of Life. In that sense then, since woman did not come from the backbone, she should not be behind a man; since she did not come from the head bone (skull), she should not be ahead of man. She did come from the rib, in man's side, and therefore she should be beside a man. In that vein, in Arkansas, at all public functions of the Masonic Order, we march side by side, man and woman, brothers and sisters, one of the last vestiges of family exhibition.
We have come under criticism by some in our jurisdiction, but it is with a sense of pride and family orientation that we do this, for this administration wants to see the support of brothers from the sisters and vice versa.
Matthew, also called Levi, was a tax collector, and a very articulate historian, for he traced the earthly lineage of Jesus the Christ, from Abraham to Joseph, the husband and earthly father of Jesus. In doing so, Matthew further gives us the reason for this paper, and gives weight to the 'help meet' reason for woman's arrival through Adam. In this Scripture, Matthew touches upon five (5) women, only five (5) in Fourteen Generations (Matthew 1:18). Yet, those five women, of dubious character at best, would make up the fabric that is called the "Scarlet Line" of Jesus, the Christ. They would also show how God exalts valleys and lower mountains (Isaiah 40:4), for a lady of dubious character is a valley (lowly in our sight), and a mountain is best exemplified by those that think they are more than they actually are.
In Genesis 38, we read the saga of Tamar, the daughter-in-law of Judah, he who was to receive the prophecy of kingship (Genesis 49:10), and how in the face of adversity, God lifts her up from the sure sentence of death by stoning. But, in the Scriptures concerning Tamar, we also see that Tamar supported Jewish law when Judah would not, or had forgotten to support it. Tamar, under the guiding plan of God Himself, put herself in a dubious position of a prostitute (Genesis 38:13-18) and gave birth to twins by her father-in-law Judah. Would we have accepted such a lady in our order today? Not hardly! Judah had given her his personal belongings to support his pledge to her, and she in turn gave them back at the proper moment, in support of God's plan!
In Joshua 2, we read of the saga of Rahab, the Heroine of Jericho. However, at first sight, she is as less likely to be a heroine as a pilot can fly to the moon on the back of a mosquito. Rahab is an outcast, made to stay on the wall of a great city, a city that would be a fortified city-state between the Jordan River and the lush lands of inland Canaan. Jericho was a major step in reaching the Promised Land for the Hebrews. Jericho was the place for the continuation of the Scarlet Line, and a prostitute would play a major part in keeping the line going. Rahab, through the revelation of God's plan, supported the efforts of the spies by hiding them when capture was eminent. She supported God's plan, whom she knew nothing about, but once again, God 'exalts valleys' in His own good time, whenever and whoever.
In Genesis 19, we read of Lot, the nephew of Abraham, the father of faith, and how he survived the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their wickedness. In Genesis 19:31-38, we read of the birth of his sons by his two (2) daughters, certainly acts of incest by today's standards. For now, let us concentrate on the first born, Moab, the ancestor of Ruth the Moabitess (Ruth 1:4).
Ruth further is apparently degraded (in our eyes) by playing the prostitute (Ruth 3:1-14) by sleeping at Boaz's feet all night. Boaz himself, was no angel (in our eyesight) as he was the son of a prostitute (Matthew 1:5), Rahab, former prostitute and now wife of Salmon, of the tribe of Judah. Still, Ruth supported the plan of Naomi, who supported the plan of God.
Adultery is a cause for divorce, and in some cases, death. In 2nd Samuel 11, we read of the most famous case of adultery in the Bible, except, this case of adultery was in God's plan, the plan of the Scarlet Line, a line to bring forth a Savior. Bathsheba was a Hittite, a Black Woman if you please (Genesis 10:15), a descendant of Heth, the son of Canaan, the son of Ham.
The child born of adultery acts, was not allowed to live, and consequently, Solomon was born of David and Bathsheba, who supported God's plan with an unfaithful act.
In Matthew 1, we read of the earthly lineage of Jesus, and also the female ancestors are brought to light in one chapter. We also read of the visitation of the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost (Matthew 1:18), and the support of Joseph when Mary was found to be with child, by another one than Joseph, (Matthew 1:19). We further read of visitation of the angel (messenger of God's plan) to soothe Joseph and give him a reason more noble than Joseph's just attitude, (Verse 19-21).
Mary, if there was any doubt, was given support by her cousin Elizabeth, who was also with child (Luke 1:2, 39, 56). Mary herself, gave support in the beautiful song of magnifying the Lord (Luke 1:46-55).
My sisters and my brothers, let us not be so zealous in our Chapters and our Lodges, so as to disenfranchise ourselves cutting ourselves off from successful programs, meaningful projects, extended acts of kindness, and whatever may come from the:
PLANS OF THE TWO WM's (Worshipful Master and Worthy Matron).
THE SUPPORT OF THE TWO MB's (Masonic Bodies).
THE RESULTS OF THE FIVE P's (Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance).
THE OVERALL SUCCESS OF THE TWO GM's (Grand Master and Grand Matron).
The Order of the Eastern Star is a support system, a vital part of the Freemasonry that we, as African Americans, called the Prince Hall Masonic Family, believe in as one of the ways our people can be lifted up from a degrading system, to one of a higher stature, a stature that would be fitting for that Spiritual Building, a building not made with human hands, but is eternal in the heavens.