Robert Burns #243 Trestleboard
From the East
I recently had the opportunity to participate in the funeral of our recently deceased Brother, James Mason. We had contacted the Masonic Service Beauro to provide a funeral team. They provided a Master for the ceremony, but we were required to provide people to fill in the other four roles. Unfortnately, there were only three Robert Burns Masons there, so we had to combine the Junior and Senior Warden parts into one person. While the ceremony went well, and the family seemed pleased pleased with our performance, I was concerned by the haphazard way the ceremony was planned and executed (we did not know which of the funeral ceremonies we were to perform, all the parts had to be read, etc.). Speaking with the representative from the MSB about this after the ceremony, he highlighted the basic problem: personnel.
The MSB does not deny requests to supply a funeral team to the family of any Brother that requests one (usually via their Lodge), and the MSB has a quite small pool of personnel available to provide teams. In speaking about this after the funeral, it seems clear to me that we have two possible courses of action regarding the MSB: either we drop out, save the subscription money and form our own funeral team to handle the needs of our Brothers, or we support the MSB with more than just our annual check and have some Brothers step up and volunteer to participate in the team. The problem with either of these plans is that we need a few Brothers (at least one, as many as five to field a full team for the indoor ceremony) to be able to partcipate in a daytime ceremony with relatively little advance notice. It makes the most sense to me for us to stay in the framework of the MSB and support them with more than just an annual check. If you are able to participate in such a team, please let me know.
On an unrelated note, I have been reading John R. Heisner�s Meditations on Masonic Symbolism and Advanced Meditations on Masonic Symbolism. These books are collections of Bro. Heisner�s excellent short essays on various Masonic symbols, from the common gavel to a man plucking off his shoe. I recommend them very highly. Each one is easily readable in a single sitting, and each one has led me to thinking about how that principle has arisen in my life and how I could apply it in the future.
I encourage you to apply this same idea to what Bro. Mark has written below. Have I been in a similar situation with a Brother or friend? How did I act then? How can I act in the future to alleviate the suffering of others�to �be industrious, never sitting down contented while our fellow-creatures around us are in want, especially if it is in our power to relieve them�?
From the West
Thank you for your continued faith in me and electing me SW. I feel I have been so overwhelmed with everything going on with my life that it has been difficult for me to find the time to write. I wanted to share a little story with everyone about something that happened to me a couple of months back which really solidified the true meaning of Masonry.
I was on my way to my child's school for a late night event. Upon coming to the entrance of the parking lot I hit the first speed bump and suddenly my car begins making this loud screeching sound. I am late so I have to park my car immediately and run in. After the event is over I came out to my truck to see if I could see anything wrong but with no success. It keeps making this horrible sound when I begin moving.
Remembering I am only a couple of blocks away from a Brother's house I limp my car up there. By this time it is getting late, but I am desperate. With no warning, I knock on the door, hoping he is awake. He comes to the door obviously ready to go to sleep. I tell him the problem and he decides he will get dressed and take a look at it for me. He pulls his car out of the garage and I barely get mine in there. We begin looking at it and begin pulling of all kinds of parts, with no success, which takes a couple of hours. We finally find a missing bolt which holds the brakes on. Not having the part we are not able to fix it.
Knowing now that I have no chance of fixing it I ask for a ride home. I need my car for work, driving from Canada to Tacoma, and this Brother knows this. Instead of giving me a ride home he gives me the keys to his car and says take it, use it for however long it takes to fix it. He has to go to work in the morning as well, but talks to his wife who is not happy about it but has no problem waking up a little early and taking him.
This my Brothers, is what Masonry is all about.
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