Greetings Friends & Companions,
Welcome to the busiest time of the year! There’s Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Lodge & Council elections, the kickoff of the Christmas season, and all the while it’s getting colder every step along the way. I have personally been very busy starting a new job while my wife peruses her Master’s Degree at the University of Michigan, and the chapter has been busy as well, having just welcomed Companion, Jason Bryce over the summer we now start Worshipful Brother, Robert Blackburn on his path through the capitular degrees with his Mark Master Mason degree in taking place on October 17th and his Past Master degree with allegory taking place on November 15th.
With all that’s been going on personally I’ve hardly had the time to write a proper article but given we’ve just held a Mark Master Mason degree I’d like to take some time and talk about the concept of one’s mark. The idea of having an individual mark to distinguish your labors dates back millennia and continues to this day. Societies have long seen the benefit of making sure a person’s work could be identified in order to praise or admonish the person responsible. Such practices resulted in the trademarks of today’s modern marketplace, and we still give our signature to mark our intentions. But before there were signatures there were marks. An older friend of mine still tells the story that when he started at Ford if you were illiterate in lieu of your signature you were asked to make your mark. We, in a lodge of Mark Master Masons request all incoming brothers to make their mark before they receive their Royal Arch Degree. We ask them to make this mark in our Book of Marks that will identify them as a Mark Master Mason. So what’s in a mark? Looking over Washtenaw Chapter’s Book of Marks I’ve seen no shortage of variety. Symbols of faith, working tools, and any number of designs that could have meaning to a man grace its pages. Some are as simple as a set of initials while others are so complex they can hardly be etched on a coin. Knowing many of the companions, I often smile after realizing how fitting many of the marks are. This is true of even one of our most famous Mark Masters, George Washington.
As you can see by looking at #42 on the diagram, Companion, Washington’s chosen mark was the beehive, a long held Masonic emblem of industry. How fitting a mark for the father of our nation? But whether your mark has a strong symbolic meaning or not isn’t actually what’s important. The important part of your mark is found in making it. Our operative brethren may have been forced to mark their work but in modern society it’s easy to hide poor workmanship. You may be just one man in a company of thousands, in a community of millions, but I think should be the goal of every Mark Master Mason to happily mark all of their deeds and when asked if it is indeed their work, answer with pride. When I was young I was a member of AWANA which is an acronym that references 2 Timothy 2:15, Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed. I find this particularly appropriate for the Mark Master Mason as well. Work diligently and skillfully, marking it without shame, so when it comes for approval, you can present it joyfully.
As I stated before we’ll be conferring the Past Master degree on Worshipful Brother, Robert Blackburn on the 15th with allegory, so if you know a part in the degree, or are simply interested in attending please feel free to drop by. Dinner will be at 6:30pm, Council elections are at 7:00pm and we’ll be starting the degree at 7:30pm. Our next degree will probably not be until February so this should be a great time of fellowship for all. Also our Ann Arbor York Rite shirts are in. They are $25 and have two designs. One design featuring, Lodge, Chapter, and Council, and the other featuring Lodge, Chapter, Council and Commandery. You can order them at the meeting or just send me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org specifying how many you want, which design you want and your size. They will also be available soon at http://aayorkrite.org. And remember on November 5th at 7:30pm the Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti Ann Arbor-Fraternity No. 262 is hosting the Freemason Party for Food Gatherers, so you should come and show your support! Thanks for reading and happy Thanksgiving!
Brandon Mullins, HP