Hello Brothers and Greetings from Copeland No. 390, NC AF&AM. I am a 30 yr. old Fellow Craft Mason who will be raised to Sublime Degree of Master Mason on Friday, March 25th. That is the scope of my Masonic history. As for my personal history, I am married to a wonderful woman, who gave me two beautiful daughters, and I work as a Maintenance and Electrical Tech-A for PVH Corp. In another life I was a 12B SGT in the KY Army National Guard with the 201st ENG Battalion, 206th ENG Battalion, and finally the 577th Sapper Co with one tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2008-2009.
What I write is what appeals to me personally, and I hope that through my writings, discussion and growth is had by all. Some of my writings will probably show my infantile understanding of all that is Masonry, but I digress.
CREATE & CULTIVATE
Create and cultivate is not a new idea to anyone. We create relationships, business deals, gardens, etc. We cultivate the same to grow and expound upon them. I prefer to use create and cultivate to flesh out ideas and lessons to seek out a fuller interpretation to grow in knowledge and therefore fit myself better as a living stone. One of the best ways we as Masons can do this is to go watch our brothers put on degree work. By doing so, we have social interaction which creates conversations on many levels—from humorous to philosophical. The attentive ear listens to what’s being said, looking for error, truth, wisdom, guidance, etc. To sum this up is to simply say:
Go to every degree with the mindset that you are there not only to support the candidate or brethren, but also to learn and grow.
I find it enjoyable and always enlightening to experience an Entered Apprentice degree. From attempting to recite every part along with the officers of the lodge to thinking back to when I too started my journey, I find myself always pondering the obligation. As I recite it again, it is as much a reaffirmation of my adherence to my obligation as it is an examination of myself for the time when I will have the honor of helping to confer that degree. I must be prepared and do my brothers proud as they did for me.
There is so much to be learned on that night, and it comes as such a blur, literally. I must admit I have only witnessed two other Entered Apprentice degrees other than my own and that makes me an infant in the realm of Masonry. I can’t help but wonder how many of our more seasoned brothers think while re-experiencing the Entered Apprentice degree, and if they thoughtfully try to recite back the obligation or the various other beautiful parts. I would be a liar if I didn’t admit that I always steal a glance around at my brothers to see the expressions on their faces, if their lips are moving in unison with the Worshipful Master, or others charged with speaking. Does it still strike a chord in a way that causes them to think deeper each time they witness or confer this degree.
Do they pick up on something to feed their minds and carry them along, keeping the fire of enlightenment fueled within them? I personally get a rush, a new thought, a new idea, a new lesson, and a new brother! I would hope it’s like a good book that you re-read several times always catching some new detail within its well worn pages. Now I want to step outside my bounds for a minute to give each of you reading this a charge, as I give myself when I go to a degree.
What do you try to take away from the degrees? Tonight, I pondered the point within a circle and how I can better apply it in my work relationships, and also how I can better apply the gauge to making time for writing my thoughts in my journal, as so many brothers have graciously insisted that I do. I implore each of you to go to any degree you can, always to support your brothers and the candidate, but also with the mindset of what can I learn tonight to be even better. Once you have gotten that nugget, or two, three or many nuggets, research them. Study them out. Use the seven liberal arts to help you find a fuller interpretation that fits you as a more perfect stone for the builders’ use.
Create what you envision and Cultivate it for others! We are to be lights to the profane, but more especially to our own.
Thank you Bro. Christopher Ford for you contribution this week!
If you would like to be the next contributor, send me an email. I hope you will.