Freemason Party for SafeHouse | Saturday Nov 11

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A fun-raising party to assist SafeHouse Center to build communities free of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Featuring the band: Cellar Cats ~ Food ~ Silent Auction ~ 50/50 Raffle!
Monetary Donations will be matched by The Michigan Masonic Charitable Foundation. Wow!
$5 - Cover
$10 - Cover with Bar Privileges

Share our Facebook Event!    OPEN TO THE PUBLIC - OVER 21 ONLY!

The Extants of the Lodge...

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Brethren,

The dimensions of a Masonic Lodge are explained to us during the Entered Apprentice lecture.

We're taught that "the form and extent of a Lodge is an oblong square, extending from east to west, between north and south" which sounds reasonable enough: a rectangle, wider along the east/west orientation. It then goes on to say that the Lodge extends "from the earth to the heavens and from the surface to the center." Now we find that a Lodge is much, much wider along the up/down orientation than east/west. You're familiar with the 3D shape called a cube; the general rectangle version is called a "right rectangular prism".

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I interpret this to mean the lodge is a right rectangular prism, so much wider (for all intents and purposes infinite) along one dimension, compared to the other two. Practically a line, from the center of the earth, stretching to infinity. What does that symbolize?

The lecture tells us that "It is of such vast dimensions to signify the universality of Masonry and that Masonic charity should be equally extensive."

So I imagine each lodge across the globe, as right rectangular prisms extending out to the heavens, beacons representing Masonry and Masonic charity.

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We're also taught that the three principal rounds of Jacob's Ladder are Faith, Hope, and Charity, and that "The greatest of these is Charity, for Faith may be lost in sight, Hope may end in fruition, but Charity extends beyond the grave, through the boundless realms of eternity."

So not only does the right rectangular prism of the lodge extend to the heavens to signify the vastness of Masonic Charity, Charity itself extends through boundless realms.

This inspires in me a vision of a blue globe with golden beacons shooting out through space and time, powered by the Charity we accomplish as Masons.

That is a representation of the ideal, but in the real world we have to make this vision a reality, through our efforts. Big efforts and small every day efforts, there are many opportunities in our lives where we can reach out to the less fortunate with aid. How we respond to those opportunities, how we prioritize others over ourselves, and how we plan and execute deliberate acts of Charity, these the ways we power the right rectangular prism with our contributions to Masonic Charity.

With this in mind, I want to congratulate Wes Krumel for the amazing Grotto Charity Car and Jazz event. He put an immense amount of effort into it and it paid off. It was a very successful event and our lodge should be proud of him! Let's be inspired by Wes and the right rectangular prism of our lodge and find ways to accomplish Masonic Charity in our lives.

Come join us in lodge as we plan our next endeavors.

Sincerely And Fraternally, 

Steven Moazami
Worshipful Master

Oct 4 -  Regular Communication | Pittsfield Union Grange Hall
Oct 18 - Special Communication [Rusty Nail-MM], Chili CookOff | Pittsfield Union Grange Hall
Oct 23 - FC degree | Visitation to Olive Lodge
Oct 25 - Master's Table Dinner | TBA
Nov 11-  Free Mason Party for SafeHouse | Zal Gaz Grotto

 

Pushing Forward...

WM Steve at the Cube - Be Square!

Brethren,

We've had an interesting summer - "Chinese Curse" interesting.
We've lost a number of brothers, and it's being capped off by a world full of hurricanes, literal and symbolic.  It has been enough to remind me that time and tide wait for no man. Time is on my mind.  In the Master Mason Lecture we're taught that a marble monument was erected to Hiram Abiff's memory:

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"...a beautiful Virgin weeping over a broken column, before her was a book open, in her right hand a sprig of acacia, in her left an urn, behind her stands Time unfolding her ringlets and counting her hair."

It is then explained:


"Time unfolding her ringlets and counting her hair denotes that time, patience and perseverance accomplish all things."


But contrast this with the fact that Father Time himself is usually depicted behind her with his scythe, itself a symbol of the finite-ness of man’s time. And so too are the ringlets in her hair finite.  
Another contrast: while the acacia she is holding reminds us of the immortality of the soul, so Time’s scythe reminds us of our own mortality.
Yet another: the book represents Hiram’s many accomplishments, the broken column represents the unfinished temple. 
How do I resolve these juxtaposed symbols against the wisdom of “time, patience and perseverance” accomplishing all things? By remembering that dally and delay are not patience. Thoughtless grinding is not perseverance. And time is not infinite. Man is not a river carving a canyon.
But I do believe if we cherish what time we have with dogged focus and determination, patience and perseverance, we can accomplish all we aspire to--God willing. 
Man is not a river carving a canyon. But rather an artist carving a marble monument—yes with patience and perseverance, but also with intent. Let our legacies stand for themselves with such impact as that of Hiram Abiff’s monument. 
Let's not dally, come join me at our September regular and let’s doggedly push forward with our craft. 

Sincerely And Fraternally, 

Steven Moazami
Worshipful Master

UPCOMING EVENTS - See  our Calendar for details
Aug 31 -    MEMORIAL SERVICE: Bro. Karl Grube | Zal Gaz Grotto Club
Sept 2 -    MEMORIAL SERVICE: Bro. Joel Kimball | Kimball house
Sept 6 -    Regular Communication | Pittsfield Union Grange Hall
Sept 8 -    MEMORIAL SERVICE: Bro. Eric Feldt | Holly Mi
Sept 20 -  Special Communication [FC] | Pittsfield Union Grange Hall
Sept 27 -  Master's Table Dinner | TBA
Sept 30 -  Benefit Car Show! | Zal Gaz Grotto Club

How should Masons act?

The Realm of the Fellowcraft!

Brothers,

We now reach the middle of the year, the June regular. let us thus explore the middle years of man, represented by the Fellow Craft Degree.

The chaplain's prayer at the beginning of the degree is Amos chapter 7, verses 7 and 8.

Amos was a prophet who lived in a time when Israel was split. In the north was the Kingdom of Israel, which had grown rich but oppressive to the poor. He was a sheep herder from the southern Kingdom of Judah who was given visions by the Lord regarding the social corruption that had consumed Israel, and was told to go there and preach.  

Chapter 7 starts with the Lord showing a vision of a plague of locusts, Amos pleads, and the Lord relents. Then the Lord shows a vision of a consuming fire, Amos pleads, and again the Lord relents. Now get to the verses 7 and 8:

"Thus he shewed me: and, behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumb-line, with a plumb-line in his hand.v  And the Lord said unto me, Amos, what seest thou?  And I said, A plumb-line. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumb-line in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass by them any more."

What is the plumb-line or plumb? We are taught that it is one of the working tools of the Fellow Craft:

"The plumb is an instrument made use of by operative masons to try perpendiculars, ... , but we as Free and Accepted Masons, are taught to make use of them for more noble and glorious purposes. The plumb admonishes us to walk uprightly in our several stations before God and man ..."

Thus verses 7 and 8 are the Lord showing a vision to Amos of a perfectly upright wall, with the tool used to make it such, and saying that he will use this tool to judge his people of Israel, and not give them a pass any longer. He has relented on the locusts and fire, but he will now try their uprightness. The chapter concludes with Amos being ejected from Israel for his message--my Masonic interpretation is it's not always the most popular or expedient to be upright.

It is interesting to note as an aside: Amos's visions start with judgments against neighboring nations, before the visions concerning judgments of the Lord's own people of Israel. This suggests that a central idea of the entire book of Amos is that when it comes to justice and uprightness, the Lord considers all nations on the same level.  I doubt this was lost on the authors of speculative Masonry.

Back to the plumb, recall at the end of the Entered Apprentice degree, the Worshipful Master declares:

"...I am pleased to state that you there stand as a just and upright Mason and I give it you strictly in charge ever to walk and act as such."

So then we begin the Fellow Craft degree where we left off the Entered Apprentice, with Amos's vision reminding us that as Masons, we are endeavor ever to be upright men.

Brethren, please come join me at our regular communication on the 7th, and keep Amos in mind when our Junior Warden answers "How should Masons act?" ... "By the plumb".

Sincerely And Fraternally, 

Steven Moazami
Worshipful Master

UPCOMING EVENTS - From our Trestleboard
June 15 -  Book Club: Brothers of Literature | Paul's House
June 17 -  Workshop and Table Lodge | Zal Gaz Grotto Club GET TICKETS NOW!
June 21 -  Special Communication [EA] | Pittsfield Union Grange Hall
June 22-  Party with the New York Grotto Folks | Zal Gaz Grotto Club (after dinner)
June 28 -  Master's Table Dinner | Dan's Downtown Tavern, Saline
July 23 -  All Masons and Friends Picnic | Olson Park, 12-4

Merger Celebration Dinner
and Ann Arbor Masonic History Talk!

CLICK HERE to get your FREE tickets

It's a "two-fer" dinner-celebration! Wednesday May 24, 6:00pm

First, dine with us to commemorate the merger of Golden Rule Lodge #159 and Ann Arbor-Fraternity Lodge #262.

Second, learn about Ann Arbor Masonic History from some brothers who have lived it! We'll have a night of fellowship and conversation with four brothers who each have 50 years of Freemasonry under their belt: Brothers Art Davidge PM, Pat Tessmer, Dick Sands MWPGM and Nick Stamos. And a note, Brother Sands brings a unique perspective as a Most Worshipful Past Grand Master!

Significant others are welcome. The catered dinner is complimentary! Dinner starts at 6:00pm; History discussion starts at 7:00pm

CLICK HERE to get your FREE tickets, this RSVP helps us get a head count for the caterer.
Thanks to Brother Andy Hoffman and the other organizing officers!

Also, don't forget our Special EA Degree meeting NEXT WEEK, Wed May 17.  See the CALENDAR for details!

Brotherhood like “the Dew of Hermon...”

"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" -- Psalm 133, verse 1

So begins the first degree in Masonry; so we begin a new era in Ann Arbor Masonry, together, in unity.

Golden Rule No. 159 joins Washtenaw No. 65, Fraternity No. 262, and Ann Arbor No. 544 in forming a veritable rock n' roll super group. Travelling Wilburys you say? How about the travelling men of Ann Arbor!

This consolidation ensures the continuation of Golden Rule's history and legacy in Ann Arbor, as well as ensuring the brothers have a local lodge to call their own and further their adventures in brotherly love, relief, and truth.

"It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;" 

The second verse of Psalm 133 equates brotherhood with the precious ointment used to consecrate Moses's brother Aaron as a priest of the Lord.  The precious ointment is described in Exodus 30:22-33 as being made from 4 fragrant ingredients and olive oil. The separate and valuable ingredients come together as a precious ointment, the whole being far greater than the sum of the parts. So these 4 lodges have come together within Ann Arbor to likewise be greater as a whole. For Masons this verse celebrates the goodness of brotherhood, when men come together to be better than they are individually.

"As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore."

The third verse of the Psalm equates brotherhood with the life-giving dew that is provided by Mount Hermon and the hills of Zion. Mount Hermon is a cluster of mountains with 3 distinct summits. These snow capped summits have such elevation that they capture much precipitation, and provide necessary water in an otherwise arid part of the world. For Masons this celebrates that brotherhood enables us to come together provide what the world that needs from us: brotherly love, relief and truth--one for each summit of Mount Hermon.

Come join me as we begin the next chapter in Ann Arbor this Wednesday May 3 at the Grange for our May Regular Communication!  There are many topics to discuss, T-shirts will be ready for pick up, and we have a complimentary dinner to boot! (6:00pm)

Of special note this month: Join us on Wednesday May 24 for a Merger Celebration and A2 Masonic History Talk.   On this night we'll recognize the consolidation of two great Ann Arbor Lodges,  Golden Rule 159 and Fraternity 262.  You and your significant other are invited to a complimentary dinner followed by a lively panel discussion about the history of Masonry in Ann Arbor. A once in a lifetime event -  be there!

Sincerely And Fraternally, 

Steven Moazami
Worshipful Master

UPCOMING EVENTS - From our Trestleboard
May 3 -   Regular Communication | Pittsfield Union Grange Hall
May 17 -  Special Communication [EA] | Pittsfield Union Grange Hall
May 18 -   Book Club: Brothers of Liturature | WB Justin's House
May 24 -   Merger Celebration and A2 Masonic History Talk | Zal Gaz Grotto Club

Brother Chat for AAF262 Members!

A FEW QUESTIONS FOR YOU...

  • Are you a member of Ann Arbor-Fraternity Lodge No. 262?
  • Would you like a private, more "real-time" method to stay connected to your Lodge Brothers, no matter where you are?
  • Are you interested in seeing links to news, information and conversation about Freemasonry from around the globe?

 IS "Why, YES!"your answer?

Then you need to join us in the newly-launched chat for AAF262! It's our own Slack instance, created to keep our Lodge members connected, informed and up to date.

Click here for more information about how to get started -  or visit Brother Chat in the For Members section.

Your Ashlar, Rough and Perfect

Dear Brothers and Friends,

In the Entered Apprentice degree we’re taught that all lodges have six jewels, half movable. Two of those three movable jewels are the rough ashlar and the perfect ashlar.

In operative Masonry the rough ashlar is a stone fresh from the quarry. In speculative it represents our rough and imperfect beginnings. That is contrasted with the perfect ashlar. The stone made ready for use by skilled hands, in operative masonry.  In speculative Masonry we’re taught that the perfect ashlar represents the state we as Masons hope to achieve through our Masonic education, works, and the blessings of deity.

What does it mean though, to be perfect? How can one achieve perfection in this human existence? As a Persian, this has troubled me, the idea of a perfect ashlar. Let me explain.

Persian carpets are beautiful hand-woven rugs of exceptional quality and design, the product of an ancient art and an essential tradition of Iran. Their repeating patterns are delicate and intricate, and have an amazing variety of designs. Yet even the most detailed and skillful designs always contain a flaw. It is there as a reminder that perfection is the domain only of the divine, something man shouldn’t have the hubris to approach.

How to reconcile the idea of a perfect ashlar with my Persian sensibilities regarding imperfect man? It turns out there’s nothing to reconcile but my own understanding of the language.

The word perfect here is used in the older sense of “complete” or “finished”. It doesn’t mean an ashlar devoid of all imperfection, it means an ashlar that is ready to be fitted into its use. Operatively: ready to be fitted into the building. Speculatively: ready to be fitted in that house not made of hands, eternal in the heavens.

When will we be perfect ashlars? Will we be finished before we’re through? We won’t know, but as Masons we strive to be as ready and complete as we can be, as men, before the Grand Architect.

So relax, don’t strive for unattainable perfection. Introduce a subtle flaw into your work to remind yourself that as awesome as you are, there is always room to improve.

Above all, continue with the process of completing yourself as a man, and your understanding of Masonry. Part of that process for me, will be ever chipping away at the language and symbology of Masonry, to find these resonating truths.

I hope that you will join me in continuing your journey to completeness this Wednesday at our Regular communication.

Sincerely And Fraternally, 

Steven Moazami
Worshipful Master

UPCOMING EVENTS - From our Trestleboard
APR   5 -   Regular Communication | Pittsfield Union Grange Hall
APR 15 -  Child ID Event | Washtenaw County Fairgrounds, SIGN UP
APR 19 -   Special Communication | Pittsfield Union Grange Hall
APR 26 -   Master’s Table Dinner | TBA

In the Days of our Youth...

by Steven Moazami, WM

Brothers, Family and Friends,

We’re approaching Nowruz (the Persian New Year), the Vernal Equinox, and the first day of Spring. These are all a celebration of rebirth, of new beginnings, of the continuation of life. Spring is an ubiquitous symbol of youth, as is the Entered Apprentice degree in Masonry. The salad days as they say.

But it’s not until the Master Mason degree - the degree that symbolizes age -that we’re admonished to “remember now thy creator, in the days of thy youth”. Isn’t that “now” too late by the last third of a man’s life? It has struck me as odd that it is not in the first degree which is symbolic of the actual “days of thy youth”.

The quote is from Ecclesiastes 12:1-7 and is one of the most beautiful parts of Masonic Ritual. A very moving poem by any stretch. In fact all of Ecclesiastes is so beautiful and poignant that it has made a lasting impact in poetry and literature in the Western World.

Poems by the likes of William Shakespeare and Robbie Burns have referenced it.  A folk song by Pete Seeger (made famous by The Byrds) is almost entirely from its third chapter (To his credit, Pete did add the “Turn, turn, turn”). Many have been moved by Ecclesiastes.

So its inclusion in Masonic Ritual is no surprise and feels natural, but what do we make of its placement? What was the intention of placing 12:1-7 in the third degree?

Ecclesiastes 1:1 identifies its author: “The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.” None other than King Solomon, whose temple our lodges symbolize. Jewish tradition holds that Ecclesiastes was written by King Solomon in his old age, a recording of his self-reflection. The wise old king, in the twilight of his life, admonishing all of us - not from supposition - but from enlightenment.

I believe that is why it is included in the third degree. Because just as the third degree symbolizes age, so Ecclesiastes 12:1-7 symbolizes that wisdom that comes with it. That wisdom that you appreciate only with perspective, that’s lost on those not ready for it. An acknowledgement that many of the most important lessons are learned too late.

As we welcome Spring and these new beginnings of another year, let’s remember the wisdom of King Solomon, and live the best lives we can, and be the best men we can, starting now, in the days of our youth.

A reminder: our dual-lodge Past Master’s Roast and Awards Dinner is fast approaching (March 11).  Get a ticket HERE for yourself and your significant other, I’ll see you there!

Sincerely And Fraternally, 

Steven Moazami
Worshipful Master

UPCOMING EVENTS - From our Trestleboard
MAR   1 -   Regular Communication | Pittsfield Union Grange Hall
MAR 11 -  Past Master Roast and Award Dinner | GET TICKETS NOW!
MAR 15 -   Special Communication | Pittsfield Union Grange Hall
MAR 22 -   Master’s Table Dinner | TBA

Friendship, Morality, Love

by Steven Moazami, WM

Brothers, Family and Friends,

As Master Masons we were taught to never lose site of the moral applications of a particular useful and valuable instrument. The same instrument on whose points you were received, which revealed these moral applications are contained within your breast.

Friendship, morality, and brotherly love - the most excellent tenets of our institution - set us apart from other organizations, from other cross-sections of humanity, and from other men.

It is critically important now, as we transition in a heavily polarized country. The half of us that were in power exchange places with the half of us that were not, and America has to bridge the divide as there is so much to do.

We must remember that we’re all the same brothers as we were last month. The same brothers we broke bread with, the same brothers we sat in lodge with, none of us changed our character on January 20th.

One of the unique benefits that Masonry contributes to society is fueled by those most excellent tenets: we humanize our political opposition. Too much of America’s political discourse is spent demonizing the other side, even “liberal” and “conservative” come off our tongues with venom. But we sit in a lodge whose population mirrors that same political divide, and we do so with friendship, morality, and brotherly love. We recognize that we’re all brothers hoping to make the world a better place.

Our nation can’t move forward without healing the divide, and Masonry is part of the solution. If we can get along, break bread and sit in lodge together, then maybe we’ll spread understanding and perspective. Then maybe our national discourse can get beyond the divides and find common ground.

So let’s never lose site of the compasses and their moral application and do our part to come together as a nation. Let them keep us in due bounds with all mankind…

… But especially with a brother Mason. At this month’s Regular Communication there is a different opportunity to bring brothers together. We will be voting on a historic motion, to consolidate Golden Rule No. 159 into Ann Arbor-Fraternity No. 262. You should have already gotten a snail mail copy of the resolution.

Please send your questions or concerns if you are unable to attend, but please do attend if you can, history may be made.

Sincerely And Fraternally, 

Steven Moazami
Worshipful Master

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

FEB   1 -   Regular Communication | Pittsfield Union Grange Hall
FEB 15 -   Special Communication | Pittsfield Union Grange Hall
FEB 22 -   Master’s Table Dinner | TBA
MAR 11 -  Past Master Roast and Award Dinner | Save the Date!