Obligation Renewal Night
The purpose of Obligation Renewal Night is to promote Harmony throughout our Great Fraternity and to return our hearts and thoughts to the most valuable tenets of Freemasonry, which are Friendship, Morality and Brotherly Love.
By the exercise of Brotherly Love, we are taught to regard the whole human race as one family- the high, the low, the rich, the poor- who, being created by one Almighty Parent, and inhabitants of the same planet, ought to aid, support, and protect each other. On this principle, Masonry unites men of every country, sect and opinion, and conciliates true friendship among those who might otherwise have remained at a perpetual distance.
"From the commencement of the world we may trace the foundation of masonry. Ever since symmetry began, and harmony displayed her charms, our Order has had a being. During many ages, and in many different countries, it has flourished. no art, no science preceded it. in the dark periods of antiquity, when literature was in a low state, the rude manners of our forefathers withheld from them that knowledge we now so amply share, Masonry diffused its influence. Thus science unveiled, arts arose, civilization took place, and the progress of knowledge and philosophy gradually dispelled the gloom of ignorance and barbarism. Government being settled, authority was given to laws, and the assemblies of the Fraternity acquired the patronage of the great and the good, while the tenets of the profession disseminated unbounded philanthropy.
Abstracted from the pure pleasures which arise from friendship so wisely constituted as that which subsists among Masons, and which it is scarcely possible that any circumstance or occurrence can erase, Masonry is a science confined to no particular country, but extends over the whole terrestrial globe. Wherever the arts flourish, there it flourishes too. Add to this, that by secret and inviolable signs, carefully preserved among the Fraternity, it becomes a universal language. Hence many advantages are gained; the distant Chinese, the wild Arab, and the American savage will embrace a brother Briton, and know that, besides the common ties of humanity, there is still a stronger obligation to induce him to kind and friendly offices. The spirit of the fulminating priest will be tamed, and a moral Brother, tough of a different persuasion, engage his esteem; for mutual toleration in religious opinions is one of the most distinguishing and valuable characteristics of the Craft. As all religions teach morality, if a Brother be found to act the part of a truly honest man, his private speculative opinions are left to God and himself. Thus, through the influence of Masonry, which is reconcilable to the best policy, all those disputes which embitter life and sour the tempers of men are avoided, while the common good, the general object, is zealously pursued.
From this view of our system, its utility must be sufficiently obvious. The universal principles of the Art unite, in one indissoluble bond of affection, men of the most opposite tenets, of the most distant countries, and of the most contradictory opinions; so that in every nation a Mason may find a friend and in every climate a home.
Such is the nature of our institution, that in the Lodge, which is confined to no particular spot, union is cemented by sincere attachment, and pleasure reciprocally communicated in the cheerful observance of every obliging office. Virtue, the grand object in view, luminous as the meridian sun, shines refulgent on the mind, enlivens the heart and heightens cool approbation into warm sympathy and cordial attention." (Preston)
(The Worshipful Master will call up the Craft by three raps of his gavel.)
Brother Chaplain, lead us in prayer.
(The Chaplain will recite the Prayer at Raising, pg. 109 of the Florida Monitor.)
Brother Senior Deacon, it would greatly honor me for you to place yourself in due form at our Sacred Altar to renew your obligation. (The Senior Deacon obliges.) Brethren, please form semi-circles West of the Altar and extend your hands in front of you.
My Brethren, in order for us to revert back to the basic teachings of Freemasonry and to truly re obligate ourselves to the most valuable tenets of the Fraternity, say "I," pronounce your name in full, and repeat after me...
(The Worshipful Master will step down from his podium and recite the Obligation from the Altar as he would in the Master Mason Degree Ritual.)
My Brothers, as you know the working tools of a Master Mason are all of the implements of Masonry, indiscriminately, more especially the Trowel. The trowel is an instrument made use of by operative masons to spread the cement which unites the building into one common mass; but we as Free and Accepted Masons are taught to use it for the more noble and glorious purpose of spreading the cement of Brotherly Love and Affection; that cement which unites us into one sacred band, or society of friends and brothers, among whom no contention should ever exist, but that noble contention, or rather emulation, of whom best can work and best agree.
(The Worshipful Master returns to his podium and then raps the Craft down.)
My new-cut ashlar takes the light
Where crimson-blank the windows flare;
By my own work, before the night,
Great Overseer, I make my prayer
If there be good in that I wrought,
Thy hand compell'd it, Master, Thine;
Where I have failed to meet Thy thought
I know, through Thee, the blame is mine.
One instant's toil to Thee denied
Stands all Eternity's offence;
Of that I did with Thee guide
To Thee, through Thee, be excellence.
Who, lest all thought of Eden fade,
Bring'st Eden to the craftsman's brain,
Godlike to muse o'er his own trade
And manlike stand with God again.
The depth and dream of my desire,
The bitter paths wherein I stray,
Thou knowest Who has made the Fire,
Thou knowest Who hast made the Clay.
One stone the more swings to her place
In that dread Temple of Thy worth —
It is enough that through Thy grace
I saw naught common on Thy earth.
Take not that vision from my ken;
O, whatsoe'er may spoil or speed,
Help me to need no aid from men,
That I may help such men as need!
Rudyard Kipling, 1865-1936
"You're a Mason"
My Brother, Masonry means much more
Than the wearing of a pin,
Or carrying a paid up dues receipt
So the lodge will let you in.
You can wear an emblem on your coat,
from your finger flash a ring;
But if you are not sincere at heart
It doesn't mean a thing.
It is merely an outward sign
To tell the world you belong
To that great fraternal brotherhood
That teaches right from wrong
What really counts lies buried deep
Within the human breast
Till Masonic teaching brings it out
And puts it to the test
If you practice out of Lodge
The things you learn within,
Be just and upright to yourself
And to your fellow men
Console a brother when he's sick
Assist him when in need;
Without a thought of personal reward
For any act or deed.
Walk and act in such a way
The world without will see
That only the best can meet the test
Laid down by Masonry
Be always faithful to your trust
And do the best you can
Then you can proudly tell the world
You're a Mason — and a Man
"Last Night I Knelt Where Hiram Knelt"
Last night I knelt where Hiram knelt
And took an obligation.
Today I'm closer to my God
And I'm a Master Mason.
Tho' heretofore my fellow men
Seemed each one like the other,
Today I search each one apart;
I'm looking for "My Brother".
And, as I feel this friendly grip,
It fills my heart with pride;
I know that while I'm on the square
That he is on my side.
His footsteps on my errand go
If I should such require;
His prayers will plead in my behalf
If I should so desire.
My words are safe within his breast
As though within my own;
His hand forever at my back
To help me safely Home...
Good counsel whispers in my ear
And warns of any danger;
By Square and Compass, Brother now!
Who once would call me stranger.
I might have lived a moral life
And risen to distinction
Without my Brother's helping hand
And fellowship of Masons.
But God, who knows how hard it is
To resist life's temptations
Knows why I knelt where Hiram knelt
And took that obligation
Thank you Brothers and remember Freemasonry is more than just a fraternal organization...it's a way of life!