Robert Burns #243 Trestleboard
From the East
The last few years there have been resolutions before Grand Lodge that would have required everyone who is not a Past Master to complete the Proficiency in Lodge Management before they could become Master. I�ve struggled to do this task and almost have the written portion done. The struggle has not been because of the difficulty rather I just have not put it high on my list of priorities.
It is understandable that a goal of the Fraternity be to have each Master know the ritual and be knowledgeable in the Washington Masonic Code. These two things help meetings run correctly and help a Lodge to not run afoul with Grand Lodge. But is there another purpose, another reason for this task?
Who of us, when filling out a petition for the Degrees of Masonry, thought; I am doing this so I can learn the W.M.C. or be tested on opening and closing Lodge? Not me. I did want to understand more of the teachings of the Fraternity but I have not heard of a Grand Lodge resolution asking that a Mason take a test to prove his understanding of the First Degree obligation or asking that we write an essay on the meaning of the Second Degree lecture.
What we are required to prove, on our path through the Degrees of Freemasonry, are what I think of as the mechanics of the Fraternity. This also applies to the Proficiency in Lodge Management and even the Proficiency in the Standard Work. Is this the new �Operative� form of Freemasonry?
Our ancient Operative Brethren knew, by trial and error, that a triangle with legs of 3, 4 and 5 increments yielded a right (90�) angle. To be an Operative Master, you had to have this knowledge and able to use the knowledge to fit the ashlars to form structures. What the Masters of years gone by did not need to understand was the science. Men such as Euclid and Pythagoras wanted to know the whys. These few did look further which led to the study of geometry.
In his book The Symbolism of Freemasonry, Mackey talks about the labor conducted in a Lodge today as contrasted to the labor of our ancient brethren. The labor at the building of King Solomon�s Temple was fitting stones. Our labor is our ritual. Should not our labor be as precise as those who built the cathedrals in Europe and should we be as willing to be tested as those ancient apprentices who had to prove they were ready to become masters of the work?
Brethren, buildings will not fall if we mess up our work but by striving to prefect our ritual and our understanding of the rules of Freemasonry in this jurisdiction, we might be able to bring more men to an understanding of what we seek. The excellence of our work should inspire a curiosity in Masons as the curiosity that was in Euclid, Newton, Pike and other masons who sought the great truth.
Perhaps there will be another resolution before Grand Lodge, if it passes, that will be an external motivator for those advancing through the chairs. In Robert Burns Lodge my hope is that we will prove our proficiency because that is our desire not just a requirement.
From the West
At our next stated meeting, on the 7th of September, we will do some exercises to prepare our Lodge's long range plan. I will lead a brief session to fill in a worksheet which will help to point us at areas we need to work on, and areas where we think we do well. I hope to see as many people as possible there, because more input will make the result better. If you want to think ahead a bit to make the evening go a bit more quickly, please contemplate what you think are three Strengths of Robert Burns, three Weaknesses, three Opportunities and three Threats that we face. I hope to see you there.
Also, we are looking to have a party go up to the Dunbar #118 installation on the 25th of September. Their lodge will tile at 1:30, and we are looking to depart the EMC at 9AM to carpool there in time. Please let me or WM Jim Hamlin know if you are able to go.
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"Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause, of fear. Perhaps the action you take will be successful; perhaps different action or adjustments will have to follow. But any action is better than no action at all. "
Norman Vincent Peale
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