I know many brother masons of Christian persuasions who hesitate to join The United Religious, Military and Masonic Orders of the Temple and of St John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta out of fear. Similar to the fear that every mason has before joining, that the beliefs will be unsavory, they will conflict with my personal ideals and morals. Many cite the requirement for a Christian faith as evidence of intolerance in an order connected to a society of liberal tolerance, and seek initiation in to more accepting societies and degrees. Many are concerned with such brazen public Christian professions of faith, despite personally holding to Faith in Jesus Christ as his personal king.
I have been asked “Don’t you guys promote the violent defense of Christianity against other men? That doesn’t sound brotherly or friendly…”
Christian brothers, wield your sword!
Shortly before He died, the messiah asked his disciples to travel without money, a sword, or other basic necessities. They traveled successfully, making disciples in various nations in the region. They ate off the charity of others, their hope in spreading peace guiding their steps, their faith in Christ’s work drove their ambition. When they returned, He informed them that while the Father will care for them always, it was now important that they take their necessities with them, including a sword!
Similar to the mandate of Christ to his disciples, our order first instructs us in virtues without necessities. The almighty power of Truth, the primacy of Humility by penance and accepting the help of others in our lives. Not one of us ought to reject the offered aid of another, no matter how little, and not one of use should be so proud as to neglect our responsibility to make peace in our souls through penitence. Only after learning these lofty values are we granted a chance to wield a sword.
Unlike the more commonly recognized masonic tools, the level, the plum, the square, etc. — which were studied profusely by Bro.s Albert Mackey, Albert Pike, and others for 200 years — the sword of a Masonic Knight Templar is viewed a bit sideways. It is not used for building up, for creative uses, it is a weapon of war, violence, hatred. It cuts, stabs, pierces our enemies. But in the hands of a true and faithful Knight of the Order, it is entirely different.
The first thing a knights hand touches is the Hilt of Faith, also associated with Justice Impartial. His faith and zeal for justice guides his future actions toward mankind, whether friend or enemy, he will guide his sword by faith and justice toward the entire human race. (An entire study on the hilt itself, and the other parts of the sword, are in the future for this knight.)
Secondly, we view the blade of our sword. Hope, by which we acquire Fortitude Undaunted. Our hope in the justness of our cause, the right by which we fight, must shine brightly in our minds. A dingy, dull blade will not suffice in our noble war against the enemies of innocent maidens, widows, orphans, and the Christian Faith. Polish in your mind the proverbial blade of Hope, refresh it that you may war confidently in causes of Justice for your Brothers, your nation, your children.
Thirdly, the point which leads our attacks against every enemy we encounter. Its piercing judgements falls with Impartial Justice on the wretched, inciting in them a respect and fear of the Kingdom for which we fight. The point is Charity, and when sharpened to a deadly point, used in the skilled hands of a True and Faithful Knight of the Order, our enemies receive Mercy Unrestrained. The beggar thief is pierced through with the merciful gift of food, and shelter; the addict with medical treatment, companionship, and support; job training, shelter, food, healing, love, by these means we will empower the soldiers of Christ, and disarm the enemies of our daughters, wives, churches and nation.
By these means we promote the most liberal tolerance and improvement of mankind. Humbly recognizing that though we are blessed in our current stations of life, it is only so that Christ might bless those within our reach. Knowing that any man in a low position could just as easily been any one of us had misfortune, calamity, or any number of factors chosen to bring us down. Yes, ours is a brotherhood of Christian men, or men who vow defense of the Christian Religion, but this is not a license for hatred, or fear of any other man or brother. All Christian masons considering membership should be encouraged, in fact, that surrounded by brothers in Christ, so many intend to wield their sword in Faith, Hope, and Charity.