MUSTAPHA OSMAN CHAPTER 9859 E.C.
Given at the Mustapha Osman Chapter No. 9859 EC Banner Dedication Ceremony on Tuesday 15 October 2019 at Read Masonic Centre Kuala Lumpur
M E Grand Superintendent, E Comp Wong Aun Keat, Distinguished Companions, E Companions and
The Consecration of the Mustapha Osman Chapter No. 9859 EC has its unique place in the annals of freemasonry in the district of the Eastern Archipelago. The consecration was held on 7 June 2019 to coincide with the Annual Convocation of the District Grand Chapter in Singapore which commemorates its founding by our own masonic brother, Sir Stamford Bingley Raffles.
The consecration ceremonies were performed by M E Comp Sir David Hugh Wotton. The Chapter Banner was unfurled to our views at the end of the ceremonies but due to constraints of time no explanations on its design were given. It is therefore apt that a banner dedication ceremony be held at this first regular convocation of the Chapter. We are indeed grateful to our Grand Superintendent, M E Comp Dato’ Jeyaraj Ratnaswamy for officiating this banner dedication.
Companions, the design of the logo and banner have been approved by the Supreme Grand Chapter.
The logo consists of two golden concentric circles within which are emblazoned the name and number of the Chapter in gold lettering. Within the inner circle are the Triangle and the Triple Tau, again in gold. These symbols sit on a crimson background, the colour of Royal Arch, which are emblematical of fervency and zeal. Gold also symbolises higher ideals, wisdom, understanding and enlightenment.
In the Mystical Lecture of Exaltation Ceremony, you learn that the mysterious Triple Tau, is said to be the mark or sign spoken of by the prophet Ezekiel, when, in his vision, he saw the man clothed with linen, having the writer's inkhorn by his side; and the Lord said unto him, "Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh, and cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof", by which mark they were saved from among those who were cut off for their idolatry by the judgments of the Most High. Therefore, this has ever been considered the mark of life.
The Triangle, in the days of Pythagoras, was esteemed as the most sacred of all emblems, and when an oath of more than usual solemnity had to be administered, it was always given upon the Triangle; and when so taken, no one was ever known to have violated it. Triangle is therefore the ancient symbol referring to God, the Grand Geometrician and Great Overseer of the Universe, to whom we must all submit and most humbly to adore.
The circle is an emblem of eternity, for as it has neither beginning nor end, it may justly be deemed emblematic of God who is without beginning of days or end of years, and it continually reminds us of that great hereafter when we hope to enjoy endless life and everlasting bliss.
The colour of the silk is pink with yellow edgings. These are the colour of the lodge to which this Chapter is umbilically attached and these are also the primary colours of Read Lodge No 2337 EC, its mother lodge.
The Chapter logo is flanked by four principal characters, viz Man, Lion, Ox and Eagle. These as you can see are also depicted in the banners placed behind the three principals’ chairs. a Man to personify intelligence and lordly power; a Lion to represent strength and dignity; an Ox to denote patience and assiduity; and an Eagle to display the promptness and celerity with which the will of the Almighty is ever executed.
In giving the oration for this banner dedication ceremony, it will be amiss of me not to deal with the banners and ensigns displayed in the Chapter. The Banners or Ensigns arranged around the Altar commemorate the Children of Israel during their 4 years travel in the Wilderness, after the exodus from Egypt.
In the Fourth book of Moses, called Numbers, Second chapter:
“The Lord spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying, “Every man of the children of Israel shall pitch by his own standard with the Ensign of their Father’s house, far off about the Tabernacle shall they pitch”.
And the final verse reads,
“The children of Israel did according to all that the Lord commanded Moses, so they pitched by their Standards, and so they set forward every man according to the house of their fathers.”
When the Israelites marched through the wilderness, the twelve tribes had between them the four principal banners or standards, every one of which had a distinct sign inscribed upon it. The tribes encamped around the Tabernacle were: on the East three namely Judah, Issachar and Zebulon, under the Standard of Judah [a lion]; on the south three, namely Reuben, Simeon and Gad, under the banner of Reuben [a man]; on the west three: namely Ephraim, Manasseh and Benjamin, under the standard of Ephraim [an ox]; and on the north three, namely Dan Asher and Naphtali, under the standard of Dan [an eagle].
The ensigns which you see on the staves were the distinctive banners of the twelve tribes of Israel and figurative of the peculiar blessing bequeathed to each by the Patriarch Jacob who, before his death assembled them together for that purpose. For convenience these ensigns are arranged in our Chapters on each side of the altar.
In the Old Testament, we learned Abraham married Sarah and their son was Isaac who married Rebecca. Isaac had two sons, Esau and Jacob [Esau married and founded the Arab Nation]; Jacob married Leah, Rachael, Billhah and Zilpah. Jacob, who was later renamed Israel [hence we have the land of Israel], had twelve sons and one [or more] daughters. Ten of his Sons formed ten of the twelve tribes of Israel and are represented by ten of the banners, or ensigns, in our Chapter. The other two tribes were formed by Manasseh and Ephraim, who were Jacob’s grandsons by his son Joseph. This therefore leaves the twelfth son Levi, whose name you will see attached to Simeon’s banner in the temple layout.
Such my Companions, are the stories behind the banners and ensigns found in our Chapters as well as the distinctive design of the banner for Mustapha Osman chapter No. 9859 EC.
Freemasonry then in its highest or supreme degree teaches us a valuable lesson that God has appointed each of us, his place, in the social system and that no man is dishonoured in whatever station he finds himself.
Privilege carries with it great responsibilities and, distinction often involves danger. If Judah was in front he was not there for the sake of gratifying his own pride or accepting the applause of the crowd. He was there an instrument of Divine Favour.
This, or something corresponding, is the lesson for all whom God has placed in the front, whether it be the possession of wealth, or of learning, or of enterprise or any ability; these gifts are not for selfish men.
Each and everyone has been destined by the great “I am” to play our part in the great scheme of life which he directs. Our Order has the honour to show forth to the world the glory, power and importance of His Omnipotent will.
And, may we be so guided by his precepts, and guided by the maxims of our order, and never deviate from the paths of Honour and Virtue.
I thank you for the honour you have bestowed upon me today by allowing me to give the Oration on this wonderful occasion. May the True and Living God Most High forever bless your banner and the members of this venerable and noble Chapter.