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more light #350

Broken temples

by Ed Halpaus
Grand Lodge Education Officer
Grand Lodge of A. F. & A. M. of Minnesota

“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet” Mahatma Gandhi

Many Masons will say that the second degree is their favorite degree because of all the lessons that can be derived from it. When a Mason explores the second degree he will find himself thoroughly intrigued with everything the degree contains.

There is a non-esoteric part of the second degree that is worth exploring:

“The lapse of time, the ruthless hand of ignorance, and the devastations of war, have laid waste and destroyed many valuable monuments of antiquity, on which the

utmost exertions of human genius have been employed. Even the Temple of Solomon, so spacious and magnificent, and constructed by so many celebrated artists, escaped not the unsparing ravages of barbarous force.”

Thinking about that paragraph would be time well invested for the Freemason; especially as it may apply to his Lodge, and its Brethren.

Recently a clergyman[i] wrote something interesting as it applies to the members of his religion. Possibly we Masons can learn from it too. “The way I see the now-broken temples of yesteryear in the Holy Land today is that they are now only scattered, broken pieces everywhere.” “We’re meant to be a temple, whole and strong. Does God’s heart break when he sees that we argue over doctrine, music, buildings?”

A fact of life is that people will have differences of opinion. There are times when these differences of opinions will escalate and become personal enough to create some dissention in a Masonic Lodge. When this happens, then the next sentence, following the above portion of the ritual, becomes important; “Freemasonry, notwithstanding, has still survived:” But has it? Is Freemasonry in the Lodge going to survive disagreements; manifested by the ill will some Masons demonstrate toward each other. The real question might be, has Masonry survived in the lives of the two or more Masons who are at odds, (or worse,) with each other?

More than one Mason will have the motto, ‘Freemasonry is a way of life.’ It is, but, it is only if it’s lessons are learned and internalized enough so Freemasonry becomes a part of the individual Mason; when that happens – then Freemasonry is a vital part of his life, and becomes a way of life for him.

C.S. Lewis wrote what he preferred to think when it came to others; “I would prefer to combat the ‘I’m Special, feeling not by the thought ‘I’m no more special than anyone else,’ but by the feeling ‘everyone is as special as me.” “The first might lead you to think, ‘I’m only one of the crowd like anyone else,’ but the second leads to the truth that there isn’t any crowd. No one is like anyone else. All are members.” “All different and all necessary to the whole and to one another.”[ii]

While C.S. Lewis was writing about his own religion I think it can apply to what may be going on in some individual lives, and in some Masonic Lodges:  If one Mason might feel and say that he will have nothing to do with another Mason, a sentiment like that could be un-Masonic (at least in spirit) and cause a disruption in his ability to live Masonry, which for a time would cause Masonry to not be a way of life for him.

Learning and living the lessons available in Freemasonry as well as in our houses of worship is important for the Freemason. Our Freemasonry and our individual religions should be a way of life for us if we are to prepare ourselves as living stones for that spiritual building that house not made with hands eternal in the heavens.[iii]

“I will have no ill will in my heart against anybody in this world” Alex Campbell

“In the course of my life I have often had to eat my words, and I must confess that I have always found it a wholesome diet.” Brother Winston Churchill

“Let the world observe how Masons love one another!” From the Charge at Closing


[i] Reverend Bobby Schuller – The Hour of Power

[ii] From a letter to Genia Golenz June 20, 1952 in the C.S. Lewis Bible – referring to Romans 12:3-5

[iii] 2 Corinthians 5:1

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Last modified: March 22, 2014