I recently attended the Installation of Officers for Connetquot Lodge No. 838 F & AM, The incoming Worshipful Master, Bro. R. Kopeck, gave a very thoughtful speech on what we as Masons should aspire to do in our stations throughout life, which can surely be applied in our daily living, both in lodge and abroad in the world. Hope you enjoy it and take some light from it.
I would like to take a moment to read something from
Devotions upon Emergent Occasions,
a 1624 work by the English poet John Donne.
No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend's
Or of thine own were:
Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.
A few weeks back, a friend, and a newly raised Mason, asked me, “What do Masons do?”
I could sense his confusion in the discussion we were having, which revolved around his not being happy with the way things were going at the Lodge.
I asked him what he meant, “What do we do?” I said to him, you’ve been to enough meetings to know what we do.
He replied, “Yes, I know what we do at meetings, but I thought that when I became a Master Mason, I would be doing more than sitting in a room with a bunch of guys who memorized lines of ritual. I was thinking that I would be doing things that would help the community, or other individuals who needed help that weren’t Masons.”
It didn’t take me long to understand his frustration. And after a bit more of my listening to him go on about what wasn’t being done, I thought hard about how to address his concerns.
I thought that I’d throw it back at him and ask him where he had been for the last few months, but I knew he was a busy man and that his cabletow was stretched quite far with work and family. Using guilt was not the answer.
I tried to assure him that I understood his frustration, but also tried to make him feel that just because he wasn’t actually doing something at the Lodge, it didn’t mean he wasn’t still being Masonic. I told him that Masonry takes many forms, and that the basic principles of Masonry lie within each of us as moral men. I tried to make him see that even in his everyday life, if he was living by his own good moral judgement, he was touching lives in every community he was in, and with every person he met.
But I challenged him further and asked him what he could offer to the community through the Lodge? I brought to light his assets as a man, his intellect, his talents, and his desires. And I reminded him that the Lodge was nothing more than a structure, an inanimate object that could do nothing on its own. It took the men called Masons that met within the walls of the Lodge to come to action.
We are all blessed with abilities. And the Great Architect of the Universe has provided us, as Masons, the working tools of Life. The Temple of King Solomon did not just rise from the dust. It took many operative Masons to build it. And with guidance from the Master Masons, it took form.
Today, as Free and Accepted Masons, we no longer chisel away corners of rough stones with actual gavels and chisels, but symbolically fit our minds as living stones for that house not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens. As part of our symbolism, the Beehive of Industry is a symbol that often is forgotten. The beehive is our home, and we are the worker bees. And that is the symbol I ask you to place in your mind tonight as we get ready to celebrate another year here at Connetquot 838. The hive would be empty without its workers, and it would not exist if there was only one bee to build it, and care for it.
I am challenging each of you to be a part of the hive. Come together as one team, and celebrate the joy of being a Master Mason, because without each of you, our Lodge is nothing more than an empty building; a building without direction, without purpose. Let us not forget that we are men, and Masons. And as John Donne said so eloquently, No man is an Island.
WM R. Kopeck
Connetquat Lodge No. 838 F & A M
Suffolk Masonic District
Grand Lodge of New York F & A M
A blog dedicated