September Message - 2014

posted Sep 12, 2014, 10:15 AM by McKinley Lodge

Brethren,
The gavel having sounded in the East again, McKinley Lodge has come to
order once again after another fine Wisconsin Summer. As I stated in my
previous Master’s Message, I hope that all of you were able to get out and
enjoy the beautiful weather that characterized this Summer.
As I sat down to write this month’s Temple Topics, I debated whether or not
to share thoughts from the archives of our McKinley Temple Topics and share
my reflections about their contemporary relevance...or take some different
course. After watching the evening news and thinking about the events of the
day, I’ve made up my mind to stray from my original plan and share some
thoughts about what’s making headlines in the world today and what we, as
Masons, can take away from the world around us.
Headline #1 - The Palestinian Group Hamas breaks a humanitarian ceasefire
agreement just hours after the deal was brokered.
As a disclaimer, there is always more than one side to a story...and as we
should all avoid discussion of politics in the Lodge, I’m not taking any side on
this topic. I am, however, going to hammer home the idea that as Masons we
must always be true to our word.
Be cautious my Brothers, not to make casual promises. Your Brethren, in
particular, count on your word to be your bond. If you tell your Brethren that
you will do something, they are counting upon you to fulfill that promise. Do
not let them down. Do not betray their trust by shirking responsibility merely
because it is not convenient or advantageous for you. Rather, strive to set an
example for your Brethren so that when they think of you, they’re reminded
of your strong character. Be a man and Mason upon whom all can place their
trust.
Headline #2 - Videos surface of mass executions taking place in Iraq at the
hands of ISIS.
I had the opportunity to watch one of these videos online this evening.
The video showed six truckloads of Iraqi men being driven out to a field,
unloaded and forced to lie down in what ultimately becomes a mass grave...
dozens upon dozens of men. As the men pled with their captors, one of the
ISIS soldiers walked down the line with an automatic rifle shooting them in
the head. When he ran out of ammunition, another soldier walked up and
picked up where the first soldier left off. It was extremely graphic to watch...
reminiscent of something that would have come out of Hitler’s Germany or
Pol Pot’s Cambodia.
My Brothers, while I know that the idea of genocide is so distant from a
Mason’s heart that none of you would ever do such a thing, these current
events are a good reminder of two things:
First, that evil is a real and present force in this world. As Masons, we labor
to do good works...to be constructive. Truth, justice and brotherly love must
always pervade our hearts. Remember though my Brothers, not everyone is
like us. There are evil men in this world who do not circumscribe their actions
by the compass or live by the square. Unrestrained passions and a lack of
morality twist men’s minds in ways that cause them to confuse evil for good.
Brethren, hold true to your Masonic teachings and never lose sight of what is
good and true.
Secondly, I think this teaches the importance of tolerance and of having a
pure heart and mind. Again, while none of you would ever act out this type
of crime, have you ever held contempt in your heart for another? Have you
ever harbored ill will towards someone of a different religion? Have you ever
thought less of someone because of their outward appearance? As Masons,
we’re taught to measure men by the quality of their character, to treat
men justly, and to be tolerant. Guard your heart and mind my Brothers, as
feelings and thoughts lead to words and actions.
With that Brethren, I’ll wrap up my Temple Topics article for this month. I
know that the subject matter was a bit serious in nature, but I hope that
it provides you with some things to contemplate. Thinking is important in
Freemasonry...in fact, I would say that it is critical. For in order to truly
change...for all of us (as Masons) to become better men, we need to change
our thinking. Only when we’ve changed our thinking can we change your
actions.
Sincerely & Fraternally,
Ryan Mayrand, P.: M.:



Senior Warden’s Message for September
Brethren,
Thank You note: I‘ve had several experiences lately - some to do with Lodge
and some outside of it - that have reminded me of one of the things I love
the most about our fraternity. Or maybe better said, have made me see the
difference between dealing with Masons and dealing with the rest of the
world. It comes down to Trust.
I love the fact that I can trust my brother Masons. There are many traits and
principles that characterize a Mason. They are taught in our degrees and
exemplified in our lives - they include integrity, honesty, fidelity, fortitude,
prudence, justice, equality, truthfulness, faithfulness, and more. These all
describe the Masons I know and I feel comfortable saying they just as well
describe those I don’t know. Because I know this of my brothers, I trust that
when they say they’ll do something, they’ll follow through and do it if it can
be done. I frequently don’t feel that way in the workplace or the world at
large. Because of our trust, it’s easier for me to be honest, faithful, etc. with
my brothers and others. Because of this trust I can feel comfortable and be
myself.
I certainly don’t mean to imply that all Masons are perfectly trustworthy,
because we know that can’t be true. I struggle with many of these principles
at times, as I’m sure you all do. But I feel that these principles describe a vast
majority of the men in Freemasonry almost all the time in their interactions
with each other, and we’re teaching each other to be better all the time. What
a wonderful thing of which to be reminded.
Thank you for being good men with whom I can feel comfortable and can
trust!
Fraternally,
Chris Goodwin
Senior Warden


Junior Warden’s Message for September
Brother Andrew would like to share with you a Short Talk Bulletin from 1925
titled “The Sound of the Gavel” that he found particularly interesting:
The long summer days are gone, Autumn is here and the world takes up its
tasks. The judge returns to his bench, the preacher to his pulpit, the man
of affairs to his desk and the teacher to his/her school - the boys and girls
following with no quick step. To some it is a joy, to other a grind; but, all
return to the work appointed them to do.
Last, but not least, the lodge is opened, tiled and tested; and the sound of the
Gavel in the East calls the Craft from refreshment to labor. Soon the noisy
quarries will be busy, making ready the stone for a living Temple slowly
rising without the sound of hammer or ax; built by the faith and labor of
good and wise men as a shrine of fellowship and a shelter for the Holy things
of life.
The Common Gavel, it is a symbol both of labor and of power. As the square
is no doubt the oldest instrument of our science, so the Gavel is its oldest
working tool - some trace it back to the rude ax of the Stone Age. How simple
it is - just a piece of metal with a beating surface at one end and a cutting
edge at the other, with a handle for better effect in use. Every Mason knows
by heart the explanation of its meaning, given him in the First Degree.
The words are simple; their meaning is plain - searching, too, when we think
of the rough and superfluous things which need to be broken off and polished
away from the best of us, before we are fit to be used by the Master of all
good work. Alas, the words are so familiar that we, too, often forget how
pointed and practical they are, teaching us the first necessity of the Craft - its
need of clean and square men.
As we listen to those words for the first time, we did not realize how much
meaning they held. No one can. There are so many delicate touches in
Masonry, so many fine arts, that time is needed to see and appreciate them.
Its business is to build men, taking the raw stuff of us and shaping it into
forms of beauty and use. Before us it holds an ideal and plan of a Temple,
into which it seeks to build our lives as stones. So it begins by using the
Gavel, cutting away rough edges and breaking off ugly vices. Any man who
knows himself at all knows how much it is needed, if he is to be a true man.
Nor did we notice, in the surprise of initiation, that the Gavel is also used
by the Master of the Lodge. With it he opened and closed the Lodge; with it
he ruled. It is the symbol of his power. It is wonderful, if we think of it, how
the humblest tool is put into the hand of the highest officer. So rough an
instrument, the commonest in the quarry, hardly seems to typify a ruler. Yet
in the three principal offices of the Lodge it is the symbol of authority. The
Lodge is ruled not by a Square, still less by a Scepter, but by the sound of a
common Gavel - only Masonry could have thought of a thing so beautiful


Chaplain’s Message
Brethren;
Like many others, my fascination with plants began in a vegetable garden.
I grew up just outside of Green Bay, one of six kids. My father was a welder
in a paper mill and my mother a nurse. There was no way that Mom and
Dad could have fed all those hungry mouths without their half acre garden—
planned every winter in pencil on butcher paper rolled out on the kitchen
table.
The bounty of that garden still captivates me. The wonder I felt as a boy
at how the fence sagged beneath cucumber vines only 60 days after I had
pressed three small white seeds into a mound of soil has never left me. I can
smell that earth. I can feel the earthworms and hear the bees. I know the
heft of ripe cantaloupe. I can taste the sweetness of freshly dug carrots—gritty
with soil that didn’t wipe off—and the tart juice of the immature green fruits I
snuck from the apple tree which grew just behind the compost pile.
That garden is gone now, as are my parents, but I remember.
These days, I watch as my children push three small white seeds in a mound
of soil each Memorial Day and label the resulting pickle jars with their own
names. I kneel as they crowd around, blackened to the elbows with darkened
knees, and wait for me to solemnly judge who has, in fact, found the biggest
worm living in the compost pile. I grin as they stalk cabbage moths with
raspberry stained faces or gather roly-polys in opaque buckets. Each spring I
photograph them beneath their own personal cherry trees.
A lifelong love of gardening was my father’s legacy, my inheritance; a family
heirloom. Now it is theirs.
My prayer is that we each remember that our most important contributions to
those we love, and will leave behind, are roots and wings.
Fraternally,
-Ryan Mayrand

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