Recently the brothers and I were practicing the Mark Master degree. Some of you may be familiar with the Keystone associated with the degree, that maybe it has significance. Many of you who have taken the degree believe the principle lesson to be either fidelity, or charity. I believe the principle lesson of the Mark Master degree is individuality.
When we come in to the Mark Master degree, we find a certain fellow who seems a little timid maybe, definitely confused concerning our ways as Mark Masters. He walks in swinging his stone proudly, and soon learns that maybe he should not be quite so proud. From the outset, humility is taught to the Companion-to-be. I would like to focus, however, not on the candidate, but what he has in his hand. The Keystone.
Have many of you considered the trouble caused by something so simple? At first its use is clearly superfluous, except to have us chided like children. Why would I make something so ridiculous? But in later degrees we learn of its invaluable use in completing the Royal Arch.
Many brothers have described the “temple not made with hands” as the society we live in, and the ashlars representative of the formation of ourselves for the better fitting in society. As a Christian Mason, I take it to mean the plan of Providence, the glorious temple of His divine plan which I should divest myself of vices if I am ever to fit in properly.
It can further represent members of the lodge who ought to be square men, this is true, but God has his way of doing things. One brother might very well be a square stone, perfectly suited for all that life gives him, while others might be rounded, and narrow, seeming not to fit in any place at all, in the lodge, at his job, or in his social circles (if he has one). This brother should not be ostracized and thrown in the garbage, his place should be better sought out with the assistance of his brothers. He might just be the keystone needed to complete what you’ve been working toward. These kind of men are “one day” conferral kind of men, fork and knife degree men who help cleaning and cooking, but just aren’t comfortable with degree work. Let them be! These men are brothers who, though not knowing Jachin from Boaz are willing to drive out of their way to pick up elderly brothers, or visit them in the hospital. Not every man can be a keystone, if you “fit in” then you are probably a wonderfully square stone, but if you are not then I wish to encourage you: You will find your place in the lodge. You will meet a Most Excellent Master who will recognize your potential, your full value to the craft, or you will live to become the Most Excellent Master finding men like yourself fumbling confusedly in the lodge, and you will help him find his place, but stick around and work humbly. Work one improving yourself, and the lodge, and you will find that although you still can’t speak a lick of ritual, membership is growing because you started the weekend breakfast, or the monthly widows checkup. You are the keystone.
The great lesson of the Mark Master degree, brothers, is this: Do not force your ways on the keystones in your lodge; find their place, and everything will come together.