ST. JOHN'S LODGE # 4 A.F. & A.M.

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From The East

                                                  
Brethren, 

It is my honor and privilege to serve as master of St. Johns #4 for the upcoming year. Together we will accomplish great things. As I look back on my Masonic journey, I realize I have had many people ask me "what does it mean to be a Mason?" I’m sure you have too. This question is usually asked by those who are not yet members and is often a difficult one to answer. I recently had one of our members tell me someone had asked them, & they weren’t quite sure how to respond. We know that we enjoy being Masons but sometimes do not know how to explain it to someone outside the order.

In old England, Freemasonry was defined as "a system of morality, veiled in allegory (or a story) and illustrated by symbols." Masonry is a course of moral instruction which uses both allegories and symbols to teach its lessons. For instance, our symbols for the Entered Apprentice Degree are the 24-inch gauge and the common gavel.
Masonry and architecture to the science and art of character building". This means applying Masonic principles will make you a better person.

It means being part of an unbroken tradition that stretches back over 500 years to a time when guilds of freemasons traveled throughout Europe laying the stones of the great Gothic cathedrals.

It means sharing the values of our nation's founding fathers; men who believe in the brotherhood of man are firmly rooted in the Constitution of the United States. It means becoming a better person while helping to improve the quality of life for others. But most of all, being a Mason means the kind of deep satisfaction that comes only from selfless giving; from doing for others without asking, or expecting, anything in return.

Often, when people ask what is a Mason? They are more concerned with what their obligations and commitments are, in other words, what are their goals. The Goal of freemasonry is to make good men, who better themselves, their neighbors, and their world through an obligation of goodness of conduct, nobler deeds, higher thoughts, and greater achievements. Its singular purpose is to make good men better. Its bonds of friendship, compassion, and brotherly love have survived even the most divisive political, military, and religious conflicts through the centuries. Masonry teaches that each person, through self-improvement and helping others, has an obligation to make a difference for good in the world.

Another thing that people want to know about ours or any organization is: "What's in it for me?" No one wants to become involved in something unless they benefit from it.

Freemasonry affords men the opportunity to be with others who have the same interests. These men support one another. This applies, not only to the activities of the Lodge, but also, to the activities of daily life. The teachings of Freemasonry afford the member a better chance to live a happy life, with his chosen mate, without joining the ranks of the throw away spouse society. We learn how to work through our tough times and make our lives better and more productive. If disaster should befall us, we can turn to our fraternity in confidence that help will be given. If financial aid is needed there are avenues open to the membership that are not available elsewhere. The Lodge will help to the best of its ability.

Occasionally, one of our widows will need assistance. All she needs to do is call the Secretary of the Lodge and the Brothers will do all that they are able to do for her. This affords security for the spouses of our departed Brothers.

These are a few of the things about Masons that make them different from members of many other fraternal organizations. These things are good to know but do not define who and what we are.

There is something inherently good about being a Mason. Freemasonry has stood through the years with the shining light of its membership as a beacon to the world. The greatness of the fraternity is not due to secret teachings, mysteries, or deeds. It is due to the men who have made a difference in the world by practicing its teachings.

So, what’s in it for them? Freemasonry offers comfort to those who sorrow, hope for those who despair, counsel for those who stumble, and joy and happiness to all who genuinely practice it. We offer them brotherhood, understanding, help, encouragement and moral support.

Unless men are properly influenced and guided by principles, there is no hope for a brighter tomorrow. Not for society, not for freedom, not for democracy, and certainly not for Freemasonry.

The world around us is heading down a dangerous path. We are living in a throwaway society where values count for less and less. We see people more and more who do not think of the dignity and feelings of others. They have forgotten the virtues of temperance and prudence. These virtues must be practiced for the good of society. Good men practice them in Freemasonry.

Freemasonry has a solid foundation in unchanging principles. The true Mason's word is his bond. What he says, he means. He practices fairness and honesty in all his dealings. It teaches men to reach their fullest potential. A Freemason works toward these goals each day of his life. He cares for his family and his church. He helps his neighbor and his community, and he attends his Lodge so that he may fellowship with others with the same aims and goals.

The simple explanation that a Mason is a good man who, by the teachings of the Fraternity, is working to become a better man, and the Fraternity is all the Masons working together toward the same goal.

And when someone says it’s a “secret society”, simply tell them, if Freemasonry is a “secret society”, it’s the best worst kept secret in town.



Fraternally,

Christopher Raines,
Master 2019







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