Last week, Brother Christopher Ford contributed to this blog, and the very next day he was raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason. I told him that I would love to hear his reflections on what he experienced. He sent me the following. Please enjoy these reflections from a newly raised brother, who is without a doubt Fresh From the Quarry!
Reflections From My Raising
by Brother Christopher Ford
It has been no small feat to write this… to find the words for such a profound event having taken place, especially having been in the center of it. I have a love and passion for Freemasonry, and I yearn for more and more enlightenment through my studies and the gifts provided by our GAOTU. For two days, I have struggled to write even a coherent sentence, and only now am I processing the entirety of this past Friday night.
For those who may be unaware, I was raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason Friday night in the presence of my Brothers in Copeland No. 390 (my home lodge), but also with Brothers representing the following lodges in NC: Yadkin No. 162, Whitestone No. 155, Greensboro No. 76, Harmon No. 420, Ararat No. 558 and Granite No. 322. More importantly, the GAOTU was present, and it showed with what took place and the fellowship had within our humble lodge.
The evening started as I assume most degrees start… with a meal. Ours was made for us by a local lady in the form of vegetable soup with peach and sweet potato sonkers. Lively conversation was being had at all the tables, in the kitchen around the coffee pot, and outside amongst the smokers. There was an electricity in the air, and while I sat amongst my brothers and took it all in, I came to realize the magnitude of what a great brotherhood I am now surrounded by.
The degree itself was a serious matter and one I know I will never forget for however long I travel upon the level of time. The hard work and skill of the brethren who did the work was proof of their love for our gentle craft and exemplified the ritual itself. My friend and first line signer of my petition sat in the East and afterwards presented me a gift that I will cherish forever: a NC state pocket knife with blue bone handles (fitting for a Mason). My coach, who I admire and look up to, presented me my ring, and with it his congratulations and charge that my journey has still just begun.
One event that stood out to me was when a teary eyed brother, a humble man, and Godly man, presented me with the Heirloom Family Masonic Bible, and with it gave me a strict charge of how I should use it. And let me tell you brothers! His words were from the heart, pure passion flowed from him, and the entire scene left me in awe and struggling to fight back tears.
You may have by now noticed I brushed past the actual degree work and any details of it, and I did so on purpose. It would be a travesty on my part to attempt to put words to such an event that must be witnessed first hand in order to truly appreciate. I highly doubt I could even do it justice.
Toward the end of the evening, each brother took his turn addressing the brethren, and such admiration for the degree that had taken place was evident. When it became my turn to speak, I did as I have done during the E.A. and F.C. degrees, thanking everyone first for coming, bragging on the job done by my brothers, and finishing with the words I love you. It may put some people off for me to say such a thing, but I’m in firm belief that those men, as all true masons are bound by the same moral code as I am now, and as such, I love them as Brothers, flesh, blood, and Spirit.
I want to part with a point to ponder, as I would feel terrible in not tossing something into the air that might incite someone to action. It is going to take this kind of love, a love for your brother, whom you know to hold our teachings within his faithful breast, who speaks with an instructive tongue, and listens with an attentive ear, to break the barriers that are beginning to form amongst the Grand Lodges. We all have taken the obligations. The degrees are given with the purpose and idea that we may form our own interpretation and applications allowing for Masonry to branch out in a multitude of ways, so how come we can’t branch out? Love your brother! He and he alone will live with his personal choices and will meet his Creator in judgement as we all will. I implore each and every one of you to apply the trowel to your lives. You each know its meaning and its application. Use it to help build up a brother’s spiritual building… do not let it become the setting maul to destroy theirs.
With Brotherly Love,
Christopher A. Ford, MM
Copeland No. 390 AF&AM N.C.
May your journey be long and filled with Light!