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,
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