November 5, 2007
When I was very young and in grade school, my favorite activity was the art period and the reason for this was LePage's School Paste. That was the sticky paste we were given to glue our autumn leaves and cut-outs of turkeys onto colored construction paper. Do you remember it? It came in a big, wide-mouthed jar and had a plastic stick in the lid. Well, I loved that paste because it was kind of sweet, and I was always making sure I got some on my fingers so that I could sneak a taste of it. I admit it to you, my Brothers, I was a school paste junkie. As for other gourmet delights, the closest thing I found to that paste was Elmer's glue, that stuff in the plastic bottle with the orange top. Remember how you always had to nip off the dried glue at the top in order to make it flow out? It came close, but it didn't taste as good as that paste.
As I grew older and arguably wiser, I learned about other glues like Testor's liquid glue for plastic models, Carpenter's glue, Liquid Nails, vulcanizing glue for bike tires, and good old Crazy Glue. But, no, I didn't try tasting any of them. By the time Crazy Glue came around, I was paying attention to warning labels; having your tongue welded to a squeeze tube for a couple of weeks would be just too embarrassing.
Since becoming a Mason, I've discovered a new group of glues. The one that I first learned of was Justice, the very cement of civil society, and the next one, actually the next three, I've only recently come to recognize. What I have found is that there are three glues which, in combination, bind the pages of our Masonic book of life. All three of them are essentially necessary to Masonry; the absence of one weakens the other two; our growth in Masonry and as men cannot be bound whole or made complete without applying liberal amounts of all three.
So, what are they? They are the glue of Ritual and Lodge, the glue of Brotherhood and fellowship, and the glue of belief and worship of Divine Providence.
We can see how they are essentially necessary. What is Masonry without Ritual and Lodge? Without this glue, there is no structure to our individual growth and collective activities. Without this glue we fall away from the practical discipline of Masonry and become isolated and distant from its teachings. The glue of Ritual and Lodge gives us the fixed point upon which to stretch and exercise our Masonic muscles.
What is Masonry without Brotherhood and fellowship? Without this glue of true and trusted friends gathered in Brotherhood by choice, and dedicated by Obligation to each other, we are alone. Without it, we travel the rough and rugged roads of life without the shoulder-to-shoulder strength and security of our Brothers, those on whose fidelity we can with utmost confidence, rely. But, with the glue of active Brotherhood and fellowship, we share in the benefits and deep relief of Brotherly Love. No truer and mutually rewarding expression of caring and support can be found among men.
Finally, but not the least of these glues, there is our belief in and worship of Divine Providence. What is Masonry without our dutiful and rational homage to Divine Providence, and the blessings of its manifold comforts and supports we are promised in return?
In Freemasonry, these essential glues assist us in growing complete as men: with them we become more structured and rational, more able to understand the beauty in loving and giving, more thankful for the blessings that come from above. By spreading them liberally across our Masonic constructions, we bind ourselves to Masonry and Masonry to us and, ultimately, we cement the fraternity of Freemasonry together.
What I have also discovered is that these Masonic glues don't come with warning labels. In fact, the only danger comes in not using them! So, let's go ahead and use them, spread them around liberally and joyfully, and let's not worry about getting some on our fingers; these three glues all taste sweet.
Br. Stephen C. Harrington