Greetings Friends & Companions,
Two years has gone by so fast. It was in April of 2010 that I, with much anticipation was elected as High Priest of Washtenaw Chapter No. 6. At the time I had a 3 week old son, and an excitement only tempered by the sleeplessness that comes from a colicky infant and his 15 month old sister. Now as I prepare to celebrate my son’s second birthday, I with mixed feelings see my term coming to an end. On Monday, April 15th a new High Priest will be elected and I hope that I’m able to present him with a chapter that’s grown stronger over these past two years. In this time we’ve gained 6 new members including brother Thane Domrase, and Brother Robert Blackburn who received their Past Master Degree last month. We’ve started a practice of providing our new members with a newly designed chapter penny that has their personal mark engraved on it, restarted the practice of giving out ornate membership certificates, created a new website and social media pages for the Ann Arbor York Rite as a whole and reclaimed or replaced much of our regalia we lost with the Ann Arbor Masonic Temple. And though I certainly know there is more I could have done I’m proud at what we’ve accomplished not only in providing a better experience to our new candidates but meshing as a fraternity even while saying goodbye to companions whose travels took them elsewhere.
So to end my last letter as High Priest, I will end it how I’ve ended all of them, with Dominus Vobiscum, Lord be with you. Often ignored, but at times controversial, I’ve signed off on nearly every official correspondence as High Priest for the past two years with the phrase Dominus Vobiscum. To translate it simply, it means LORD be with you, and has its roots in the Vulgate translation of the Bible. The phrase is spoken by Boaz, Saul and the Spirit of the LORD himself in the Vulgate, and can still be heard today in Latin or another language in a number of Catholic and Anglican churches across the world, and the Hebrew version specifically, Adonai Immachem is often heard in Synagogues as a man comes up to read the Torah. I, growing up protestant never heard the phrase in church, but when I came across it in my studies it immediately resonated with me and I grew attached to it. I suppose I could speak it in any language, but in its Latin form its global usage, from the Catholic Church down the street to the churches of Kerala in India appealed to me along with the simple sound of such a strong Latin phrase. As a salutation it has never carried the wide spread usage of other cultural and religious greetings like Namaste or As-Salāmu `Alaykum, but I find I have an appreciation for it none the less, and find it particularly appropriate for the Royal Arch. The motto of Royal Arch Masonry is Holiness to the LORD, a reference to the phrase inscribed on the Tzitz, or crown of the Kohen Gadol, or Jewish High Priest. This was worn to atone for haughtiness to remind both the wearer and the audience that no matter the circumstance we owe all things to the LORD. In that sense Dominus Vobiscum is not dissimilar, because to wish for the presence of the LORD to be upon someone you are doing so in recognition of the LORD, as you know him being the source of every good and the architect of every gift. In that sense I find Dominus Vobiscum to be all encompassing wishing every good upon a person because without the LORD no such things are possible.
I’ve enjoyed the past two years and I hope I’ve served you well, but remember companions, the chapter cannot stand without your help so if you have been waiting for the opportunity to join or become active within the chapter, this is that time. Elections are next month, and with them a renewal that fits the spring season in which they take place. So if you are able, I hope to see you take part in this process and begin a new year for Washtenaw Chapter No. 6, Royal Arch Masons.
Brandon Mullins, HP