manner of service
From The Grand Lodge Of Texas
In the Entered Apprentice Degree is found a reference to
service, the manner as it was rendered to our Ancient Brethren, and the three
qualifications expected of our newly obligated Brothers. This service did not
mean for Brothers to wait upon their Masters as servants, but rather to fulfill
new duties and prove satisfactory to the expectations of being a Freemason. In
this manner, their servitude would be a recommendation for advancement and a
charge for their future conduct.
To the operative Mason, chalk is a common substance and chalk dust is present in
all constructions. From the stone itself to the finest of dust, it is the freest
of all substances and leaves traces whenever touched. This message of freedom
points to our Brother being aware of the freedom of choice and, that once a
choice is made, it consequences always leaves a trace. Thus our Brother is made
aware his future Masonic path holds great freedom, but with that freedom always
comes responsibility. The laws of cause and effect, action and reaction, are to
constant reminders of personal responsibility in his daily live.
To the Ancients charcoal was a wonderous substance, for it opened the door to
the use of metals. It fervency, or great heat, was critical to refining
progressively harder and harder metals, from lead to copper, brass to bronze,
and iron to steel. The more obdurate the metal, the more intense the heat needed
to make it yield. It is interesting and instructive that the term “obdurate”
carries the meanings “hardened in wickedness”, persistently impenitent”, and
“resisting or insensible to moral influence”. Thus a second service is expected
of our Brother, namely to ignite himself in his search for a better moral
foundation and strive to fit himself for the Builder’s use.
A final reminder is found in clay, the substance and source of life. Through the
many uses of clay, our Brother is instructed to use his life wisely and
productively. Beyond its agricultural and building uses, various clays were used
by the Ancients to create molds for metal castings and to form the many earthen
pots, or earthen pans, found in early pottery. The shaping of clay reminds our
Brother of the shaping of his life in service to the Craft and humanity. Most
importantly, clay serves to remind the good Mason it is the substance from which
he came and to which he must return.
Thus our Brother is instructed to accept the freedom and responsibility to make
good choices, to bring fervency to his actions and thoughts, and to zealously
serve the Craft. It is a great challenge always to be remembered, not only by
our newly obligated Brother, but by each of us.
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