Master’s Messages

Master's Messages - 2020


  • Greetings from the East! November 30, 2020

    Brethren,
    As the 2020 Masonic Year draws to a close, we remember just how difficult and unusual the period has been. And like many, I too did not envision this for my year as Master of our Lodge. I am relieved, however, with our progress throughout and pleased with what we have been able to accomplish in these trying times. I am extremely thankful to all Brothers who have had a hand in making this year special, the faith & trust you reposed in me, as well as the privilege to serve my Brothers, families, and friends in this trying time – Thank you.

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  • Growth Rings October 31, 2020

    The entire history of a tree, year by year, can be read in the circular groves that mark its annular cycle; its growth rings. Dry years, wet years, health and affliction, a scattered wildfire, or a lightning strike, all can be defined in those annular recordings. Those unique slices of time. Trees like redwoods and sequoias could be hundreds of years old and scientists can read their history and something about the world they grew up in back in time.

    How do we as Masons measure our growth rings? This year has been a year of challenge. A year of growth. For me, it has been about growing within myself. Trying to fill the Oriental Chair in the East as best I could. We’ve adapted to the changing world around us. The pandemic has taught us to change, to use that opportunity to explore new ways of staying connected. It has taught us to put our obligations to use for our Brothers and every other human being who needs our assistance. Our bonds have grown stronger between each other, with our families, and with the community.

    We also know that as many Masons as there are, there are that many different perspectives. These topics usually turn into heated debates. In an effort to keep the peace and harmony of the Lodge, we do not talk about some of these topics. We know that there is a large gap between different sides of thought on these topics, but we are Masons. If one Brother needs assistance who thinks completely different than you, you are there for the Brother. Why? Is it the obligations we all took? Is it the loyalty we all feel for each other because we are Masons? I would say ‘yes’ to both of those, but moreover, there is an acceptance that my Brother is my Brother no matter what he believes. We should accept each other for who we are.

    Acceptance is the ability to see that others have a right to be their own unique personality. That means having a right to their own feelings, thoughts, and opinions. When you accept people for who they are, you let go of your desire to change them. Acceptance is a powerful characteristic, it means regardless of who you are, what you believe, and how you would do something, you accept that some other person can be completely different.

    Masons are compelled to dream, to imagine. You will never arrive, nor will you want to. For a true master, the joy of ever learning is an end in and of itself. Learning about the world around us, learning about each other, and most of all, learning about ourselves. So, enjoy the journey and when you find that singular focus, that thing you were created to do, your work will begin to speak to the world.

    It is these qualities that brought us into that building; they are the characteristics we portray every day to not just those in the Lodge, but to everyone. Every human being has a claim upon your kind offices. That building we call a Lodge is a place where we are supposed to be safe: safe from judgment and ridicule. A place where we, as Brothers, work on ourselves – making ourselves better. We accept each other for all our faults and disagreements, and we use what we learn there and take ourselves out into the world.

    That is what makes us Masons. That’s what makes the world a better place.
    Fraternally,


    Worshipful Bro. Peter

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  • Greetings from the East… October 1, 2020

    Actors in a Broadway show are immersed in the character they are playing in that show. Their entire existence is contained within the three walls of the stage. When an actor becomes aware that they are only a character in a show and notices that there is an audience watching them, they will sometimes step outside of their character and engage with the audience. This is called “breaking the fourth wall”. They are, in a sense, breaking the invisible barrier between the world that is happening on the stage and the world that is observing them off the stage.

    As Masons, we are taught of the immortality of the soul. Is there a connection between breaking our own fourth wall and being Masons? We must realize that we are not just moving through the timeline of life. We must be aware that we can step outside of ourselves and realize
    the importance of not just knowing we each have our own fourth wall to break through but putting in place the practices to actually break through that invisible barrier into the world around us. Realizing that we are souls having a human experience is realizing there is a fourth wall in which to break through. Masonry gives each of us the tools. It is up to us to use those tools to look within in order to break through our own fourth wall.

    It is also through these practices that we become aware that it may not be the esoteric, the fellowship, the history, or the ritual that brings us together but that those topics are merely the catalyst for forming the unbreakable bonds we all share. The honor and respect that should be at the forefront of what we do as Masons to each other and to all human beings that have a claim upon our kind offices. It is also the connections we make through our mutual interests based on a solid common foundation that will ensure this Fraternity lasts for generations to come.

    Fraternally,
    Worshipful Bro. Peter

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  • September 2020 September 8, 2020

    I hope this message finds you and your family safe and healthy. If there is
    anything that is needed, please reach out to the Relief Committee, and we
    will try to help as best we can.

    I, for one, am looking forward to returning to our labors after these summer months. I hope everyone was able to enjoy some time out of doors in nature. In our increasingly technological world, nature can get lost. We each need to spend time marveling at the way the elements of our natural world fit together, each part of that world supporting another. The environment is not just a “cause;” it is where we all live, an atmosphere from which we can gain inspiration.

    What’s in a number?

    As we continue with our observation and awareness of the use and meaning of numbers all around us, another number pops up in Freemasonry, The Number Seven.

    Some say the number 7 resonates with the vibrations and energies of the ‘Collective Consciousness’, faith and spirituality, spiritual awakening and awareness, spiritual enlightenment, spiritual acceptance and development, mysticism, intuition and inner-knowing, inner-wisdom, etc.

    When it comes to the biblical meanings of the number 7, we have to say that it is the number of perfection and completeness. The first time when number 7 was used in the Bible was in Genesis 1, in which number 7 was used to determine the week of creation. The word “created” is mentioned 7 times in Genesis and it is used to describe the creative work of God. Additionally, in the bible, the number 7 is used 735 times (54 times in the book of Revelation alone), and is the foundation of God’s word. If we include with this count how many times ‘sevenfold’ (6) and ‘seventh’ (119) is used, our total jumps to 860 references.

    We have also to take into account that number 7 is actually the sum of numbers 3 and 4. Number 4 is known as a number of hard work and personal efforts, while number 3 is related to mysticism and creativity. As Freemasons, we need only look at our aprons to see where the numbers 4 and 3 show up. Does Freemasonry lead us to perfection?

    Many allusions exist to the sacredness of Seven in Freemasonry: The seven steps of the FC Degree, the seven liberal arts and sciences, and the seven working tools, among others. What is necessary to consider, however, is not the number or the numerology or the application of “seven” to sacred geometry. As interesting and engaging as these exercises may be, they must not be mistaken for the thing itself, that the number 7 must “trigger” in our mind a process for action and behavior. Namely, as Masons, it is a signal to our minds and hearts that we must move our thoughts, intentions, and imagination from the material to the spiritual. We must be actively working to push our thinking, feeling, and action toward work that is aligned with Masonic spirit.

    Fraternally,
    Worshipful Bro. Peter

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  • What’s in a number? July 8, 2020

    I’d first like to say that in the midst of the Pandemic we
    are all going through, I hope this message finds you and
    your family safe and healthy. If there is anything that is
    needed, please reach out to the Relief Committee and we
    will try to help as best we can.

    We are surrounded by numbers. they guide us, restrict us, and free
    us – all at the same time. Phone numbers free us to call each other
    and connect. The numbers on the scale restrict us in what food we
    should eat or, the number on the scale frees us to what exercise we
    can do. Same for the number around our waists. In cycling, we are
    governed by three numbers: cadence, speed, and output. We try to
    find the balance within these three to get us to where we want to
    go. The speed limit on streets restricts us in how fast we can ride.
    Does it really? Or should we take that time to look around us and
    see where we are, where we are coming from, and more clearly see
    where we are going?

    The ancient Babylonians observed the movements of the planets,
    recorded them as numbers and used them to predict eclipses and
    other astronomical phenomena. The priesthood of ancient Egypt
    used numbers to predict the flooding of the Nile. Pythagoreanism
    believed that numbers were the basis of the entire universe, which
    ran on numerical harmony. Numbers are a part of our everyday
    life.

    What about the number 3? In Macky’s Encyclopedia of
    Freemasonry, “Everywhere among the ancients, the number three
    was deemed the most sacred of numbers. A reverence for its
    mystical virtues is to be found among the Chinese, who say that
    numbers begin at one and are made perfect at three.” In Plato’s
    philosophy, the number three is the image of the Supreme Being.
    Aristotle says that the number three contains within itself a
    beginning, a middle, and an end. The Pythagoreans called it perfect
    Harmony.

    The Bible contains many references to threes. In Matthew
    (12:40),” For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the
    belly of the great fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and
    three nights in the heart of the earth.”. From John (2:19-21), “Jesus
    answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three
    days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was
    this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But
    he spake of the temple of his body.”

    What does the number three mean to us as Masons? There are the
    obvious three degrees and what they represent. But there is more!
    Of the five human senses, there are three that are particularly
    peculiar among Masons. There are three steps on the Master’s
    Carpet. We know of three ruffians. There are three great lights.
    Three lesser lights. Three moveable jewels. Three immovable
    jewels. There is a special meaning for three in the 47th Problem of
    Euclid.

    While what we are cannot be measured by a number, we must
    remember that they are there to remind us of those solemn truths
    that exist within the most innocent social pleasures.

    Fraternally,
    Worshipful Bro. Peter

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  • Who is a Mason? April 29, 2020

    I’d first like to say that in the midst of the Pandemic we are all going through, I hope this message finds you and your family safe and healthy. If there is anything that is needed, please reach out to the Relief Committee and we will try to help as best we can.

    Where are we first prepared to be a Mason? Is it just our heart or is it also in our thinking mind? We must first ask the question, do all men think? All men do think, but they seldom spend the time to comprehend the great questions of the universe that others may delve into. One of these questions is inherently the nature of man and the Great Architect of the Universe, and their relationship to each other.

    While it is true that many individuals do not choose to even begin to tackle such deep and heady concepts, they do still endeavor to think about the things that they encounter every day around them. Many men do not pause to think about these great concepts, but rather think in a rather hurried and unfocused way upon their daily lives and vocations. A man may think about what he has to accomplish at work that day, or about what he expects to do when he returns home from his vocation, but he rarely takes the time to think on a higher scale of thought. All men do think, but not necessarily about the things that are most important.

    Masonry does indeed provide and demand the man seeking the door to think. Only through thought and introspection can a man truly become a Mason. Masonry provides the means for each man to think upon its meaning. This is achieved by the fact that Masonry does not necessarily provide meanings for its symbols, but rather leave those symbols open to interpretation for each man to discover. If Masonry was about teaching one dogma over another, then the symbols would be defined as rigid, rather than fluid in their meanings and interpretations. By leaving the interpretation of its symbols to the minds of each individual Mason, Masonry teaches the concept of thinking about its symbols and meanings. We know that the compasses are provided to circumscribe our desires and passions, but can it not only be there to draw a mystic circle around each and every Mason to remind them that they are bound to each other? Can the cable tow be more than a symbol of humility, but rather also a symbol that we are bound to each other by mystic and deep ties that each individual Mason must strive to realize? This is why Masonry teaches a man to think. Masonry does not define itself but rather lets each member seek the pathway that he needs to find the ever-increasing Light of the Great Creator of the Universe.

    Masonry is more than ritual and symbols. Masonry is a requirement that we always seek more and more knowledge and Light, thereby causing us to think on subjects that we would rarely have given a passing glance before we joined the Fraternity. When we choose to think about the higher subjects and symbols of Masonry, we are more certain of our final destination after we leave this plane and pass through the veil. We know that there is more than just the life of existence that we see on earth.

    Fraternally,
    Worshipful Bro. Peter

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  • What is your Trestle-board? April 20, 2020

    I’d first like to say that in the midst of the Pandemic we are all going through, I hope this message finds you and your family safe and healthy. If there is anything that is needed, reach out to the relief committee and we will try to help as best we can.

    ——

    The Trestle-Board is defined to be the board upon which the Master inscribes the designs by which the Craft are to be directed in their labors.


    What, then, is its true Symbolism in Speculative Freemasonry? To construct his earthly Temple, the Operative Mason followed the architectural designs laid down on the Trestle-Board, or book of plans of the architect. By these he hewed and squared his materials; by these, he raised his walls; by these, he constructed his arches; and by these, strength and durability, combined with grace and beauty, were bestowed upon the edifice which he was constructing.


    In the Masonic Ritual, the Speculative Freemason is reminded that, as the Operative Artists erects his temporal building in accordance with the rules and designs laid down on the Trestle-Board of the Master Workman, so should he erect that spiritual building, of which the material is a type, in obedience to the rules and designs, the precepts and commands, laid down by the Grand Architect of the Universe in those great books of nature and revelation which constitute the spiritual Trestle-Board of every Freemason.


    The Trestle-Board is then the Symbol of the natural and moral law. Like every other Symbol of the Order, it is universal. The interpretation of the symbol shall be according to what each one supposes to be the revealed will of his creator. But so rigidly exacting is it that the symbol shall be preserved and, in some rational way, interpreted, that it peremptorily excludes the atheist from its communion, because, believing in no Supreme Being-no Divine Architect-he must necessarily be without a spiritual Trestle-Board on which the designs of that Being may be inscribed for his direction.


    Before we go on a journey we plan our travels, our railway connections, our stop-overs, and our destination. Before we undertake a project to erect a building we are so careful to have a plan that often we pay an expert to make one for us. It would be equally wise if each of us were to have a plan similarly for his own life.


    What is your Trestle-board?

    Fraternally,

    Worshipful Bro. Peter

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  • White balls elect… February 26, 2020

    We go through this protocol to elect a new candidate for membership.

    From the Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, “The custom of using white and black balls seems to have been derived from the Romans, who in the earlier days of the Republic used white and black balls in the judicial trials; the balls were cast into an urn, the former acquitting and the latter condemning the accused.”

    This idea of a white ball elects and a black cube rejects is a vote that the candidate doesn’t see but is given the results. If the result is all white balls, the candidate is then elected to membership. If there is but one cube, the candidate is rejected and may not have the privilege of becoming a Mason.

    However, there is a second side to this voting process. I carry with me a white ball in my pocket wherever I go. This one white ball, so small in its physical appearance yet very mighty. It symbolizes the reason I am here today as a Mason. If not for the votes of my Brothers, I would not have been elected to membership. This little white ball reminds me every day that I am here because of my Brothers – for my Brothers. It shapes the way I speak, the way I act and what I do. Let this little white ball be a reminder to us all that it is because of this, we are all here today.


    Fraternally,
    Worshipful Bro. Peter

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  • Greetings from the East! February 21, 2020

    Brothers,
    What can we accomplish? I think that in today’s world we live in a constant multi-tasking
    environment. We are constantly bombarded with notifications and distractions. On our phones, on our computers. They are all around us. Do we ever spend time concentrating on one task for a good amount of time?

    For me, I find that there are sometimes too many distractions and when I do have some time to myself, I don’t spend it concentrating on one thing. I start/stop many things are once. Thereby accomplishing none of them. Do we all find ourselves in similar situations? We are taught early on to divide our time wisely. What can we accomplish if we set a dedicated time to do just one task?

    Turn off the phone notifications, turn off the TV and other distractions and just do the work of one task. Whether that one task is solely based inside your mind with thought or meditation, or something physical.

    Practice being single-pointed for a while. Be present. Be in the moment. My question to you, Brothers, is there anything you can’t accomplish with a well-focused and trained mind?

    From Proverbs 4:25 – ” Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.”

    Fraternally,
    Worshipful Bro. Peter

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  • Greetings from the East! January 6, 2020

    Brothers,
    May this New Year bring you and your families much love, joy, peace, and prosperity. Happy New Year!

    Thank you for electing me to serve as the Worshipful Master for the 2020 Masonic year. I will do my best to fill the shoes of the Worshipful Brothers who have come this way before. I am proud to be a member of Olive Branch Lodge #16. Of the many duties of a Mason, spreading light is one that is all important. Though to the uninitiated what we do may seem strange, to us, it is a connection to the Great Architect of the Universe that enables us to spread the light of knowledge. It is this light that will help the uninitiated find understanding.

    As we move into the coming year, I will, with your help and input, find ways to challenge not only the understanding of the mind but of the heart. We are tasked with bringing positive change to our Brothers, to our family and friends as well as our Masonic family, but most importantly to ourselves. It is THIS light that will help us shine as a beacon to all whom we encounter and interact with. This light will burn all the brighter for our zeal. This responsibility is even more awesome, and I am humbled by being elected to serve this Lodge.

    From Psalm 118:22 – “The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone.”

    Together, we are the cornerstone of Olive Branch.


    Worshipful Bro. Peter

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