April 13, 2015 - Raising a Brother
Finding the right words is always difficult, but today the words flowed from the heart and behind a wave of tears that had to be choked back. Today we witnessed a young man, who is both a brother and son, raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason. The father had walked side by side with his son for the preceding degrees, but on this occasion he could only sit and witness the journey that his son was taking. The same journey that the father had taken and begun years before never knowing if this day would come for him to witness. Not that the father didn’t hope for it, but we as men and Masons know that what we do isn’t always what our children will do. The father began his journey and provided his son an example of how to live properly and secretly hoped that it would be enough to inspire his son to follow. This is what each of us is tasked to do when we Ask to become a Mason. The father received the Light of Masonry to distribute to the world and he did just that as embodied on this day. He lit his son’s candle by his example. The father gave the son his first public symbol that he was a Mason. It is a simple item, a ring with the recognizable symbol we all know, but what it represented to the writer was that lighting of the son’s candle to move out into the world and publicly spread the light. The writer wants to congratulate Brother Johnny Ray Holland on his raising and thank his father Gordon Holland for reminding me that we are the best light for our country, neighbors, friends and family. I pose a single question to all reading this: WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO SPREAD THE LIGHT?
March 13, 2015 - Reflections on a degree
March 12, 2015 our Lodge had the wonderful honor of passing a brother to the degree of Fellow Craft. Like all other degrees the work was done and the degree conferred. The words were spoken, the walk was taken and the new Fellow of the Craft received the information. However, this occasion held something deeper and more informative. This degree was for a Lewis and the proud father was a key person in the conferral. The reason that it was deeper and more informative is that this proved, to the writer, that Masonry is something more to be cherished and cultivated. We as Masons have the opportunity to shine Light into the darkness and prove we truly are here to make good men better. The father has instilled into his son the tenets of our Fraternity during his son's upbringing and because of this the son wanted to follow in the footsteps of the father. The writer has a young Lewis that he hopes he will be able to do the same for in the future. This is my deeper, more informative take away from last night. I have to live my life in a way that will instill in my son the desire to follow my footsteps and go beyond. My Brothers, we all have this duty to our Fraternity and the world at large. Live in a way that shows Masonry is worthy of admiration and fan the flames of desire for those that want to join our band of brothers.
July 31, 2015 – Knee to Knee
What is this to Masonry? It is an essential part of our teachings and an aspect I think we need reminding of from time to time. A few weeks ago the writer attended a funeral for a Brother and stood there listening to the ceremony as part of the Masonic family. Another Brother lost to the mortal realm but inducted into the celestial lodge. His mortal work completed and his working tools laid to rest. That evening I returned home and bent my knee to pray. It was a simple prayer asking for the loving grace of God to rest upon this Brother’s family as they process through their loss of a loved one. Then I remembered the lesson and continued my prayer by asking that God’s loving grace be bestowed upon all of my Brothers. Because I don’t know what each Brother is going through that they may need help with, but I do know that God does and will answer by providing exactly what the needing Brother requires. I feel that this prayer was answered for one Brother that required something that no one knew except God and this Brother. Somehow, I believe, God worked through me to help this Brother. I was able to speak with him and provide a little guidance and reassurance that he was seeking. Day by day, we all require something that we are afraid to voice. When we retire and take the moment for our prayer to remember our Brothers, and listen to that small tiny voice inside we will be led to that point to make the difference. In your daily devotion are you remembering to ask for that blessing for your Brother or guidance to be there for him? If not, let’s start; I know I am.
June 26, 2015 - Annual Lodge Grading Reflections
Alright another year and another grading is behind Chota. We had a wonderful showing (we were short beating Cherokee's turn-out) and it was wonderful seeing our fellowship room filled. I had the pleasure of seeing many Brothers that I haven't seen in a while which is always a joy. On this night what struck me most was the Brotherhood. It isn't just about going to your own lodge and participating there, but exercising the right that we have earned to travel in foreign lands. Going and seeing other Brothers and being thankful that no matter where one travels there is always a home to be found where you are welcomed with open arms and possibly a meal to refresh yourself. This night also reminded me that there is always a need for the work to be known by all because you never know when you will be requested to set yourself to work in foreign lands or within your own land. The writer wants to thank all that participated last night in our grading and the ones that were requested at the last moment performed beyond expectation. I am proud to call each and every one Brother, Friend and Family. Keep the Light burning within each heart and spread it where ever you travel today, tomorrow and for the days to come.
December 5, 2015 – A New Year - Another Beginning
Another year has come and gone and looking back we can see that many things have been completed and more to be started. Every year the Worshipful Master is elected and then installed. The outgoing Worshipful Master came in the same way the new Worshipful Master is installed. They each come in with ideas and goals for their time in the East. They want new members to grow the rolls of the Lodge, they want more participation from the members on the rolls, they hope that they do not lose any members and the list goes on. However, each new Worshipful Master has a duty and that duty is to keep the reigns of the Lodge and direct the Brothers in the tasks to accomplish his ideas and goals. However, the reigns are given to him not as a dictator, but as a benevolent leader. He cannot simply order things to be done; he is still subject to the consent of the Lodge. The Worshipful Master is responsible to shine the Light on each Brother and work to magnify that Light to create the smolder that is needed to grow into the fire that then consumes all to accomplish the ideas and goals that he is desirous to accomplish. If each new Worshipful Master comes in with this thought then our Light will never diminish. The writer knows that he is only kindling for this fire, but is ready to be part of that fire for this year and the years to come. ARE YOU WILLING TO BE A PART OF THE FIRE?
Chota Lodge #253 F&AM