Master’s Message – December 2018

We Are The Happy We Want To Be

One of the earliest teachings in Freemasonry is the compasses and the point in the circle. The compasses, one of the three great lights of masonry, is utilized to create the point in the circle symbol; a representative of which is found in every Lodge. The symbol in the Lodge has two parallel lines, representing Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist, and the holy scriptures on the circle. The saints and holy scriptures are sources of light and form the outer boundary of our passions and desires. The point in the circle symbol can also be found in many cultures and has ties to the natural world.

In ancient times the point in the circle symbol represented the sun, the literal source of light, on its path around the “individual” or village. The sun followed this circular path every day at varying durations and elevations de- pending on the time of the year. Crop planting cycles and the harvest were based on the sun’s rotation and position in the sky. The village existence depended on knowing the sun’s path and planting and harvesting at the correct time of year.

Everywhere on earth, the solstices mark the longest day and shortest days based on the sun’s path across the earth. When the sun’s path is along the straight line of the Tropic of Cancer, we have the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. This occurs on or about June 21st. When the sun’s path is along the straight line of the Tropic of Capricorn, we have the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. This occurs on or about December 21st. The opposite is true in the southern hemisphere. The proximity of these two dates are symbolic as western Christianity celebrates Saint John the Baptist on June 24th and Saint John the Evangelist on December on December 27th. Thus, the connection between the sun, the circle, the lines, the scriptures, and the individual is formed from antiquity through today in this symbol.

As an entered apprentice we taught to keep our passions within due bounds and to divest our minds and consciences of all superfluities of life. This is the difference between having what we want and having what we need. Through experience, as we learn the difference between want and need, we start to find happiness and satisfaction in having what we need. We may find that wanting what we have is more satisfying having what we want. As my last Trestle Board writing of my term as Worshipful Master, I would like to leave you with this thought – if you are always striving for bigger, better, or more, at what point will you be satisfied or happy?

One final thought: are you the center of the circle or could the center of the circle be the all-seeing eye around which all rotates?

John C. Richards,
Worshipful Master

December 1, 2018 at 7:37 am | Masonic Light

Wreaths Across America Goal Reached & EXCEEDED

122% of our goal!

Wreath Goal: 653     Wreaths Sponsored: 796

Thank you to everyone who has helped support Wreaths Across America at the Historic Rahway Cemetery! We have met and exceeded our wreath sponsorship goal for 2018, and money is still trickling in before the December 3 deadline. An updated wreath sponsorship number will be posted when the final numbers are in.

We hope to see many of you on National Wreaths Across America Day, December 15, at 8:00 AM at the Historic Rahway Cemetery for the ceremony! Click here for more details about the ceremony.

All excess funds raised will be applied towards next years’ fundraising efforts.

November 27, 2018 at 8:08 pm | Announcements, Lafayette Events

Masonic Service Assoc. Recognizes Three Brothers from Lafayette Lodge

On October 14, 2018, the Masonic Service Association awarded RW Kenneth Nielsen, RW Michael Holt, and WB Raymond Siecinski with Certificates of Appreciation for their dedication and support for the NJ Veterans Memorial Home at Menlo Park.

October 14, 2018 at 9:04 am | Announcements

Master’s Message – October 2018

In The Beginning

The first three words of the Bible. The first three words after we form a Lodge during a degree. What about Freemasonry? Where did it start? When? Who? This amazing fraternity has no defined beginning. We hand out cards that indicate hundreds and thousands of years of tradition, legend, and mystery. Our “modern” history traces back to the formation of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717. Even the Grand Lodge was the formation of preexisting lodges. Our appendant bodies all hail from Freemasonry and Blue Lodges. The craft, however, has no definitive origin or when the “In The Beginning” actually was.

A Carl Claudy writing, “From Whence We Came”, explores this compelling topic. Claudy compares the origin of Freemasonry with the water in the Mississippi River or even more profoundly with the origin of human development. These concepts are extrapolated to the Mississippi’s origin being the North American continent. Claudy point out that 4000 years ago the Chinese used the square as a symbol of morality, altars are found throughout human history all over the globe and other human similarities. All these connections suggest that Freemasonry comes from human history all over the globe.

Our analytical minds tell us there has to be an origin. Humans have conducted scientific studies for centuries to determine the answer to “In the Beginning”. Is the widely accepted theory of the “big bang” plausible? It is only theory with no hard evidence or proof to determine its accuracy. Humans have developed in parallel paths, separated by thousands of miles, with similar ends. Is it plausible that there is more than one “In the Beginning” for humans? That debate would take more than a few para- graphs to explore further.

These ideas and theories will be studied and writ- ten about for years to come and the answers will always lead to more questions. We know our masonic dates when we were initiated, passed and raised in our Blue (or Mother) Lodge. However, were we not first prepared to be a mason in our heart? On what date did we our heart first deter- mine that? Perhaps our minds can accept that the exact origin of the craft is not important. We can learn from our known history and teachings. Whence we came is not as important as what we are. We are all Masons and Brothers.

John C. Richards,
Worshipful Master

October 1, 2018 at 7:52 am | Masonic Light

Master’s Message – September 2018

Marquis de Lafayette

Our Lodge’s namesake, Marquis de Lafayette, was from an aristocratic family from France. Following family tradition, he became a member of the military as a teenager. In 1777, married with children, Lafayette headed to America to offer his services to this nation’s rebellion against England. This was several years before France entered the war on our behalf. In July of that year, the American Congress commissioned Lafayette as a Master General. Shortly thereafter, he was invited to join the staff of George Washington (a brother Freemason). After suffering a wound in battle and leading some successful attacks, Lafayette returned to France in 1779.

While Lafayette was in France at this time for some unknown business, he met with Benjamin Franklin (also a brother freemason). It has been speculated that this business was to convince France that England could be defeated in North America with France’s military assistance. On his return to America in 1780, Lafayette reconnected with George Washington in Morristown, New Jersey. He commanded troops from New Jersey and New York down through Virginia. Troops led by Lafayette, Washington, and Alexander Hamilton (also a brother freemason) and the French navy converged on Yorktown, Virginia in 1781 defeating the British in the last major battle of the Revolution. He returned to France by the end of 1781.

Marquis de Lafayette became active with the French Revolution. He coauthored the Declaration of Rights of Man and of the Citizen which became part of France’s constitution. During the French revolution he used his position of prominence at- tempting to maintain order. In time, extreme radicals of the revolution targeted him out for arrest. He fled to Austria and where he was imprisoned for 5 years. Napoleon Bonaparte secured his release and his return to France.
In 1824, Lafayette returned to America to tour all 25 “states.” His tour of the states included, state houses, several lodges and grand lodges. During this year, Lafayette reportedly stopped in Rahway and the Lodge formed later that year commemorated the event by naming the lodge after him. Lafayette was the first of three foreign military officers from the revolutionary war to be awarded honorary United States citizenship.
Marquis de Lafayette is believed to have joined the craft in France. Some legends have also claimed that he became an American mason in a military Lodge, possibly in Morristown. Although his Masonic origin is not known for sure, he was known to share a strong Masonic bond with George Washington and other military leaders. Local legend has it that one of the stops during the Lafayette tour of the States was St. John’s Lodge in Newark, NJ. To allow for better viewing of Lafayette, a special chair was constructed in the East to elevate the Marquis de Lafayette above the others on the platform. At this event, he was nearly 24 inches above the others seated in the East. This special chair still exists in the East of St. John’s Lodge #1 in Mountain Lakes, NJ.

Marquis de Lafayette is buried in Picpus cemetery in Paris France with an American flag flying continuously above his grave.

John C. Richards,
Worshipful Master

September 11, 2018 at 8:42 am | Masonic Light

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