The Builders of Temples
By Brother Mark Anthony Collins
Presented on 16 November 2017 at Lodge De Goede Verwachting
The greatest idea which I have formed of the brotherhood is that the journey of mankind is to build a temple. Not just any temple, but a temple of divine perfection. So strong (strength), that no force can disrupt it. So brightly illumined (wisdom) that it casts no shadows. So beautifully adorned (beauty) that all of creation is in love with it. A temple not made with bricks and mortar.
A temple not made by hands.
Brethren, may we never forget our first degree, for a temple cannot stand on a poor foundation.
The Apprentice degree symbolizes the first step to which a man may constructively begin the introspection of himself. While getting to know himself, he applies significant moral codes symbolized as the three great lights of freemasonry and various building tools to improve his character or metaphorically, the rough ashlar, not yet adequate to be used in building a divine temple.
So, as the apprentice continues to labor at improving his character so he is also improving his temple (the temple of the most high) referred to in the Christian bible as the temple that houses the spirit of God. His wages or reward he receives at the column behind the Junior Warden which means strength, tells us that the reward for labouring on one’s character is strength. “Oh well that is who I am” or “I can’t help it” type answers to one’s own negative behaviour is no longer relevant when enough strength has been developed to curb unharmonious character traits.
Only once all corners have been perfectly squared and good morals implanted, can true wisdom be seen radiating from the temple (character). Like living, radiating temples of hope we walk amongst creation, reaching out: “Come and labour with me.” Surely then, mankind will see that indeed, man may become divine and therefore take his rightful chair in the heavens.
My personal experience of the Apprentice degree has taught me very valuable lessons. I have witnessed a dramatic change in my behavior and conduct towards myself and towards others. These changes include less amounts of funding going towards personal pleasures, a deeper appreciation for family life and even stopped smoking for the first time after 24 years. There is one lesson that really opened my eyes… I did not trust anybody and always found myself trying to make it on my own.
A relief came upon me when I learnt that I did not have to do it all alone. That I have brothers who are walking the path with me. Brothers who share the same obligation as I do. Brothers that I am grateful for.