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The Blue Ribbon - May 24, 1958





Text: - Summarized from Numbers Chapter 15; Verses 37, 38 & 39.

“The Lord spake unto Moses saying, Bid them make Tassels in the borders of their garments and let them put on each corner of these Tassels a ribbon of blue, and these ribbon’s shall remind you to remember all the commandments of God.”


 1. Blue is a treasured word among free masons.  Our Blue Lodge contains many of our most treasured teachings.  The colour is evident everywhere in our temples.  Through the ages, this colour has come to stand for the best in human accomplishment.  We give a blue ensign to the fastest ship.  A blue ribbon to the best exhibits.  We talk of a person with splendid qualities as being “True Blue”.  And in this chapter the Great Architect uses it to symbolize righteousness, and has his workmen strive to build the temple of their lives and develop their talents so that they can fashion creations to His glory and the welfare of their fellow men.  He asked them to use this ribbon as a constant reminder to dedicate themselves to their tasks.


As we know our own many weaknesses and how easy it is to become indifferent we realize that anything that will help us to do better is an aid to us practising masonry.   After all isn’t that why we wear aprons and have symbolic articles of furniture in our lodge rooms.


These things are all aids to our memory


When we were young and went to school we often used rhymes to help us remember dates in history or to keep in mind rules for the proper use of difficult pronouns and verbs in our English composition.  We use alarm clocks to wake us up.  We may put a chalk mark some place to remind us of a duty we should do that otherwise might be forgotten.  We write notes on calendars to remind us of important dates that otherwise we might forget.


We need reminders to help us in our travels


The children of Israel used various methods to remind themselves of their obligations to the Most High.  Among these were small letter purses which contained verses from the sacred law.  They also had the habit of writing verses Scripture on their doorposts.  But the one to which they attached the greatest importance was a blue ribbon that they attached to their garments or aprons which they wore about their bodies to protect them from stain when working.  This ribbon was a continual reminder to them to obey the commandments of God and to walk in his ways. This precaution was very necessary for they had a tendency to forget the divine statutes.


And if we are honest with ourselves won’t we admit that we often forget the instructions of the Sacred Law, as well as ancient Israelites?  Don’t we sometimes ignore our professions of benevolence?  Labour, Study and Prayer?  Thoughtlessness is a common human failure.  And just as the motorist needs signs to remind him that there is a curve or a narrow bridge, or a steep incline on the road ahead, so do we need our lights, our working tools and blue regalia as outward symbols to guide us in our travels.


We, as Masons


We, as Masons have taken a step ahead of the average Man and therefore we should give him example and leadership.


We can make the observation and state that blue is the predominant color of our regalia.  What does that signify?  Isn’t it likely that it is to remind us of the constant care we must exercise to be guard against every iniquity?  The Israelites used this badge to remind them that they were a specially chosen people, called of God to reveal his will to mankind.  So we have appropriated this device to keep ever before us the fact that we have engaged in a solemn compact to use our spiritual skills for the improvement of our own characters and the betterment of the world.


We should not forget that we took those occasions entirely of our own free will.  We have claimed that we live a good moral life.  We disclose that we have a certain amount of material success.  In short, we think we have made a beginning at escape from the swamp of sin and sloth and are climbing to the higher ground of salvation and stability.

We have taken vows beyond those a person takes in other organizations; we have offered ourselves as fit persons to direct our juniors in shaping of a fit moral temple of life.


The blue ribbon reminds us that such obligations are not to be taken lightly, nor to be set aside at our own convenience.  If we do not expect to keep our vows it is better not to make them at all.  One of our prominent masons made this remark not long ago as he was speaking on the contributions that the lodge had made to his community.  “But alas, there are a number of masons whom we are not proud of.”  Let us each work at the temple of our lives so that our superiors and fellows can all be proud of us.


Blue is a Symbol of Hope


Sometimes the sky is blue and clear above us.  Then the storm rages and the windows of heaven are darkened.  A gray fog hides the blue from our eyes.  But we know that behind the clouds the arch of the firmament still stands.  We are confident that in a short while the sun will shine again.


Isn’t it so with ordinary life and with Masonic life?  The clouds of care, indifference, neglect, sorrow and temptation are the common lot of man.  But if we are true and faithful the blue of the sky becomes visible again.  And so brethren, let this blue ribbon which was a reminder to our Ancient brothers in Israel be a witness for us also.  May it help us to remember and live up to our obligation and the teachings of Masonry, to devote our lives to the will of God and the good of mankind.


To quote the words of a simple well known poem:


To each is given a set of rules,

A shapeless mass and a bag of tools,

And each must sake, ere life be flown,

A stumbling block, or a stepping stone.

Isn’t it strange that princess and kings

And clowns who labour in sawdust rings,

And common folks, like you and me,

Are builders for eternity.


Presented by W. Bro. A. Jones