Fraternal Greetings from the East!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow Brethren for giving me the honor and privilege of serving once again as Master of Acalanes Fellowship Lodge #480 in 2018.
The theme of my year as Master was “Why we Gather”. I choose this theme because I believe it is very important that my fellow brethren, friends and their loved ones will better understand why it is so important that we as men devote so much time and energy to our gentle craft.
We as Masons share a common bond in the experience we received in our initiation into the Fraternity. During our first degree, we are taught about the three great lights of Masonry which are the holy bible, the compass and the square. These tools are constant daily reminders to all Masons.
The holy bible is given to us by God as the rule and guide of our faith. The square and compass are Masonic tools that remind us to keep our actions and behaviors in check toward all mankind.
Each Mason is then presented with a lamb skin apron which is an emblem of innocence and the badge of a Mason. More ancient than the Golden Fleece or Roman Eagle and more honorable than the star or garter or anything of value or distinction we ever will receive in life.
We then receive instruction on the importance of time management using a twenty-four- inch gauge as a guide. You see Masonry teaches us the importance of keeping a healthy life balance. Whereby we must divide our time into three parts. One part for service to God and a distressed worthy brother, a part for work and a part for family and rest and family.
The next teaching is about the importance of the Common Gavel. Society views the Common Gavel as a symbol of authority. But we as Masons are taught that the Common Gavel is used for breaking apart our old ways and continually building a new and better self internally.
Masons gather together not to be seen by the outside world as a secret society whose only mission is to gain wealth and political power. Nothing could be more further from the truth!
We gather together to focus on the internal development of a brother’s heart and soul. To take good men and make them better through a series of three ritual degrees and ongoing mentoring and fellowship.
We gather together because our Masonic Community gives us the armor we need as we travel through life’s times of joy and times of sorrow. With the end goal that someday we will join God and our loved ones in his celestial lodge above (forever).
We are a support network of friends and brothers who strive to live out the three principal tenets of Masonry which are Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth. To share words of encouragement and council whether we want to hear it or not. Whether it is a phone call or hospital room visit to a brother, spouse, widow or orphan in need, the Brethren of Acalanes Fellowship Lodge are always there when you need them.
Knowledge of temperance, fortitude, prudence and justice are key elements of our teachings. The reason this is so important is that what we do as Masons in our daily lives at work, at home and at play are a reflection on our lodge and our Fraternity so we must always strive to continually improve ourselves.
I ask again, so why do we gather? Masons gather because we as human beings have an internal need for community. The bond we share in Masonry makes us not only friends but Fraternal brothers.
Have you not seen or witnessed two complete strangers meet and find that they share the Masonic bond and become instant friends?
A man he can trust to be on the level and share common values and ethics. I have personally experienced this on many occasions and it’s a wonderful thing to know that no matter where I go I will ALWAYS have a friend and brother who will be there for me when I need him.
Another reason why we gather is that God who is all seeing and all- knowing desires it to be so. I have been placed in this lodge for a reason and have been called to do so.
While Masonry is not a religion, and should never be seen as one, we as Masons are implored to supplement the teachings of the holy bible with the Masonic Ritual we teach our candidates and implement the lessons through life.
I cannot tell you how many times I have been sitting in a church and heard a non-Mason Pastor present a sermon on portions of our Masonic ritual and had that aha moment! So that’s where that came from. It is a beautiful thing when a Mason receives new light supported by biblical scripture written well over 2,000 years ago.
Finally, why we gather is because Masonry is as relevant to us today as it was to our three founding Grand Masters Solomon, King of Israel, Hiram, King of Tyre and Hiram Abiff, a Widows son from the tribe of Naphtali.
I am very excited about the incoming officer corps for the upcoming Masonic year, which will be under the leadership of our incoming Master, Bob Strohmeyer. I wish you all very happy and prosperous 2019!
—Michael E. Roberts, Master