I would like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow Brethren for giving me the honor and privilege of serving again as Master of Acalanes Fellowship Lodge #480 in 2018! The theme of my year will be “Why we Gather.”
I want to emphasise this theme so that my fellow brethren and their loved ones will better understand why it is so important that we as men devote so much of our time to our gentle craft. To begin with, 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 writings, the compass and the square. These tools are constant daily reminders to all Masons. The holy writings are 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 lambskin apron which is an emblem of innocence and the badge of a Mason. The Lambskin apron is more ancient than the Golden Fleece or the Roman Eagle and more honorable than 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. Masonry teaches us that to keep a healthy balance in life, 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 rest and our families.
The next teaching is about the importance of the Common Gavel. In society, the Common Gavel is seen more as a form 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 further from the truth! We gather together to focus on our Brothers internal 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 because our Masonic Community gives us the armor we need as we travel through life’s times of joy and times of sorrow. That someday we will join God 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 live as Mason, one must have a strong support network in place that can whisper words of encouragement and council whether we want to hear it or not. 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 refreshment are a reflection on our lodge and Fraternity so we must continually strive to improve ourselves.
I ask again, 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 experienced two complete strangers meet and then find that they share the Masonic bond of Masonry and become instant friends? A man that can trusted to be on the level and share similar values and ethics. I personally experience this in my daily life 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 used as a replacement for one, we as Masons are implored to supplement the teachings of the holy writings with the Masonic ritual we teach and implement the lessons through life. I cannot express how many times I have been sitting in a church and heard a sermon on portions of our Masonic ritual and had that revelation moment. 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, the Widow’s son from the tribe of Naphtali.
In conclusion, Acalanes Fellowship Lodge will continue to be known as “The Friendly Lodge”. Our home away from home. During this Masonic year our home continues to be your home as well. In 2018, we will continue to strive for degree excellence but will create more opportunities for all Masons and their families to better understand our gentle craft through social and Masonic education events, fundraisers and community service projects. I look forward to working with you all and wish you a very happy and prosperous 2018!