Officers of the Royal Arch

Who is Scribe Ezra ? – Faith

 

Continuing on from the Officers of the Lodge 6 part series, we progress on to the Royal Arch.

This is number 1 of a 5 part tutorial series on the Royal Arch Officers.

Each part published monthly in The Square.

Royal Arch Officers:  Janitor, Sojourners, Scribe Nehemiah, Scribe Ezra, Principles.

When we describe faith what do we mean? Is it “a confidence or trust in a person or idea”? Is it a “belief which is not based on proof”? Or is it “a belief in the teachings of religion”?

These are all dictionary definitions but what is Faith to you?

John Bishop in his article for Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy argues that there are three components of Faith; affective, cognitive and practical.

Affective – does your faith give you a feeling of confidence and of trust

Cognitive – does your faith give you knowledge of specific truths revealed by your God?

Practical – does your faith inspire commitment to a way of living?

Freemasonry under the banner of the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) having faith in a “divine being” is a crucial aspect of the order.

Searching and finding the meaning of your faith is a personal search and in the Holy Royal Arch is undertaken with like-minded Companions.

The search takes you deep into the realms of the seven liberal arts and sciences.

That knowledge along with the strength given by those Three Great Lights of Masonry inspires and provokes discussion.

Discussion with your Companions giving a greater understanding.

When you find meaning of your faith, embrace it as it brings a feeling of joy and happiness.

A sense of enlightenment.

 

Ezra Reads the Law to the People (Gustave Doré’s illustrations for La Grande Bible de Tours, 1866)
IMAGE LINKED:  wikimedia Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Scribe Ezra

Ezra was a priest and scribe who was one of the primary leaders of Israel when they returned from exile to rebuild Jerusalem and Solomon’s Temple.

As a descendant of the High Priest Aaron, the brother of Moses, Ezra was a scholar and devout practitioner of the Jewish law.

He was in the second wave of Jews returning from captivity to Jerusalem and when he arrived he was shocked to discover that his people had intermingled, marrying people outside of the Jewish faith.

Being such a devout Jew he formed an assembly of 120 elders to oversee and enforce the Biblical laws given by God to Moses.

He prevented marriage outside of the faith and led the people to repent their sins.

Ezra made it a point to keep God’s word relevant to the people and to make sure that they were careful to obey all that was written.

Reflection

W. L. Wilmshurst in his book The Meaning of Masonry showed Ezra as the guide from enlightenment to spirituality.

We can see why in the text above. Ezra was devout in the practice of his faith and guided his people to be equally devout.

Having found the meaning of your faith under the guidance of Scribe Nehemiah, Scribe Ezra guides you in order for you to keep your faith.

Conclusion

Whatever your faith, a deep knowledge and understanding of its meaning will bring joy when sharing in its values with like-minded people bringing happiness in your life.

Action

What do you understand to be the meaning of “faith”? 

Footnotes
References

The Meaning of Masonry. W. L. Wilmshurst, 1920

 

‘Faith’. John Bishop, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy March 2016 – https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/faith/

Believing by Faith, John Bishop, Clarendon Press, 2007.

 

Cambridge Dictionary – dictionary.cambridge.org

 

Holy Royal Arch Ritual Book

 

Article by: Stephen J. Goulding

Stephen was initiated into Freemasonry in 1978 in Tylney Lodge No. 5856 (UGLE). He was Master in 1989 & 2004.

He was Master of the Lodge of Union 38 (UGLE) in 2018. He is also a PZ in the Holy Royal Arch and PM in the Mark Degree.

Stephen served 30 years in the Metropolitan Police Service (London, England) before going into education in 2000, where he became a college lecturer and a mentor for both the college and the University of Greenwich (London, England). Now retired, he teaches Tai Chi and Qigong in the community.

Facebook: Steve Goulding-Tai Chi West Sussex–Chi at Chi

 

The Meaning of Masonry

By W.L. WILMSHURST

Although the Freemasons number over six million members worldwide, they are a very secretive organization. the general public today thinks of them as a social fraternity like the Rotary Club, but that is hardly the whole truth.

By mysterious coincidence, it seems, many Masons have been major figures in modern history. many of the Founding Fathers of the United States—including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Paul Revere—were Freemasons.

Giuseppe Garibaldi, the Italian freedom fighter, was also one, as were the composers Franz Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and writers François Marie Arouet de Voltaire and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

The Meaning of Masonry explores the beliefs behind the order, its cryptic rites and symbols, and uncovers its ultimate purpose.

 

Recent Articles: in this series

Officers of the Royal Arch - Scribe Ezra
When we describe faith what do we mean? 

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Officers of the Royal Arch - Scribe Nehemiah

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Officers of the Royal Arch - The Sojourners

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Officers of the Royal Arch - The Janitor

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Officers of the Lodge - Worshipful Master

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Officers of the Lodge - Senior Warden

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Officers of the Lodge - Junior Warden

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Officers of the Lodge - Deacons

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Officers of the Lodge - Inner Guard

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Officers of the Lodge - Tyler

Who is the Tyler being placed outside the door of the lodge, symbolically to protect our moral selves.

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