A Masonic Minute (July 18, 2012)

I am not the man I used to be. Physically it is obvious to me and to those who have known me for more than 10 years. I try to eat right and to exercise (not as much as I should), but time is marching on and when I look in the mirror each morning I realize it is marching across my face and my body. I often ask God “what’s the deal with hair growing out of my nose and my ears”. I think wrinkles, saggy skin, a loss of muscle mass and a bit of arthritis along with that annoying hair, are God’s ways to remind us that we cannot stay here forever.

At age 32 I was Master of the Lodge and active in the Consistory. I remember putting on costumes for the parts I played and even though I was the guy who sat up in the grave and talked to the class, the grave had no real meaning to me. I was young and strong and felt somewhat invincible. Looking back I think I talked too much, drank too much and I thought I knew more than I did. If I could go back I would spend more time with my wife and children. I pretty much lived by the philosophy that I was not always right, but I was never in doubt. I was truly a Rough Ashlar in need of the Master’s touch.

Now from the vantage point of 30 years later I want to tell the young Masons in my lodge, whom I have grown to love, to slow down, pay attention, drink less, control the language that flows from their mouths, put more focus on their wife and children and along with them take some time each day to get to know God. As Masons we are Charged to live a better life. People should see us and know that we are different; not because we think we are better than them, but as Masons that is the Charge we are given. If you question any of that, please read the Charges of the 1st, 2nd & 3rd degrees (if you do not have a copy of the Charges, let me know and I will make arrangements to get them to you). If you want to do Masonic education in your lodge, why not read and study the Charges to understand what they mean and encourage everyone to put them into practice. To rebuild our lodges we must first help each man build godly character into their lives. It is the way of the Perfect Ashlar, the perfection to which we are called as Masons.

I think we often confuse faith and religion as if they were the same thing. Faith believes in a God you cannot see or touch, faith is about a relationship with God. Faith is far more important than any religion. It is because of my personal relationship with God that I can say that I am not the man I used to be and I thank God for it. The idea of moving from the Rough Ashlar to the Perfect Ashlar is expressed in one word – Transformation. In theological terms it is called the process of sanctification. In this life we will never become a Perfect Ashlar, I certainly am not, but it is our faith and some good decision about how we live, that allow God to chisel off some of the rough edges and transform our lives. Not perfect, just transformed.

It is only when we realize that we are being chiseled by the Hand of God into living stones for that house not made by human hands, eternal in the heavens, that the true meaning of the lessons we are taught become important. My encouragement for you is to step into your faith and let your life become a reflection of the character that indicates that transformation has taken place. When you do you and your family will never be the same and our Masonic family, which we dearly love, will have moved to a higher level of right living

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