Tuesday, December 18, 2007

No Candle Snuffing Allowed

My lodge was founded in 1765 by an Episcopalian Jew and American Patriot. No, I did not miss a comma. It is said that the founder of the craft in my city's family became Episcopalians because of a lack of a place to worship in their tradition. He was also a merchant and although we don't know how or when he was initiated into our order, petitioned the Provincial Grand Lodge of New York for a charter to meet and make Masons in our harbor city on the Long Island Sound(the Grand Lodge of Connecticut would not be formed for another 30 years). The original lodge building was his house and the membership included many of the founding families of the city. It was a tumultuous time in American History as we all know. Like many Freemasons at the time, our founder was a supporter of the American cause for Independence and belonged to other organizations that played a part of some "unmasonic" acts of revolution against his King and Government. Remember we as masons take an oath......
You may be wondering why I am giving this history lesson today.

Not every brother in my lodge wanted to rebel against the crown. Like any gathering of intelligent men there was a large spectrum of political belief, religious persuasion, age and intellect in the lodge. There is no way around that and it would be a sad and very boring world indeed if we all thought and acted the same way. At one point during the Revolution our Worshipful Master was a passionate Patriot and our Senior Warden was a staunch Loyalist. That is the beauty of our institution. When the gavel falls and the lodge is duly tiled brothers meet upon the level to do the good labor of our gentle art and when the work is done they depart upon the square. Political talk and discussion of religion has no place in a lodge where we are to work in harmony building sacred temples out of the rough ashlars of human beings. Those two topics as we all know can make the worst enemies out of the best friends. But we rough ashlars all have to live in a world filled with politics and religion.

Governments are a necessary evil of mankind because most of mankind would revert to an animal state of survival of the fittest without laws to govern them. We enter into a compact creating government to protect the rights of those who cant protect themselves. Governments are corrupt because mankind is corrupt. It is the uncommon man who lives and acts in accordance with the divine, because it is just too darn easy to live in sin and corruption and hard to live justly. It is so hard to live a just and good life that it can be equated with labor. Why sweat your ass off growing and caring for an orchard all year long when you can sneak into one under the cover of darkness and steal some apples when you are hungry. The other reason for entering into the compact of government is to protect the labors of the just. We all have different ideas as to how this compact is enacted, but we need government.

Religion gives us hope. I am not talking about organized religion, but a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe. I don't care who you believe in but you must admit that there is an amazing structure that is the basis of every things existence. When we meet someone who has a similar belief we congregate to discuss that belief. Some people live in a way that reflects the divine light of the universe so brightly that lesser people will follow them and try to live their lives in their image. People then try to spread what they believe in and share what they find divine and organized religion is born. It is mankind's feeble attempt at government of belief. Some people need someone to tell them what to believe in because they cant see it for themselves.

There will always be a need for government and there always is a need for religion and people will strongly voice their opinions on both of these matters, it is what makes us human.

We are taught as Freemasons to leave these passions behind us when we enter into our lodge not to drop them all together. A Freemason with no political belief is like a candle with no flame. We need to control the flame of political belief from becoming an all encompassing fire as much as we need to shine our collective light no matter what direction it comes from. We must believe and share those beliefs but, in lodge we learn to control our passions. That is why lodges are sometimes called temples and that is why we leave politics and religion at the door, you cant do divine work when clouded by human passion.

After the work is done and the gavel falls we are returned to the world we live in. Hopefully with some more rough edges chipped off the course stone of our being. We labor to become better men and to share with mankind our own personal light. If, after we leave lodge don't share what we learn to control in lodge, then we labor for nothing.

Shine on Widows Son!

1 comment:

Tom Accuosti said...

We need to control the flame of political belief from becoming an all encompassing fire as much as we need to shine our collective light no matter what direction it comes from. We must believe and share those beliefs but, in lodge we learn to control our passions.

You totally nailed it, MM. You should take that entire paragraph and post it on your sidebar.

Rock on, dude!