Lee Center, New York 13363
Stated Communications 2nd & 4th Wednesdays
Photo courtesy of R:.W:. John R. Gilbert
Lodge of Remembrance
My brothers and friends, let us console ourselves with these brief words of understanding and comfort: Thus saith the Lord: Refrain thy voice from weeping and thine eyes from tears, for thy work shall find its reward, and there is hope for thy latter end.
Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee, in whose heart are the highways to Thy will. Passing through the valley of weeping, they turn to a fountain of strength. Yes, into a rain shower abundant with blessing. Thus they go on from strength to strength, until each appeareth before Thee in Zion.
They shall come with mourning, but I will lead them with tender mercy. I will turn their weeping into joy. I will comfort them and make them rejoice after their sorrow.
My brothers and friends, in keeping with a custom of Free and Accepted Masons, we are united in this moment of sorrow to bid farewell to one of our Fraternal family. It is well that we pause to ask God's blessings upon us, for only in Him, can we find strength and hope. Let us pray.
Almighty God, grant us Your blessing as we meet on this solemn occasion. Help us to look beyond the darkness and sadness of this moment to the light and hope of tomorrow. You know we are weak and unable to stand alone. Fill us then with the power and comfort of Your presence that we may say with assurance, as did Job of old in his grief, "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord."
|Our Brother||Raised||Deceased||Years of Service|
While we mourn their loss from our fraternal fellowship, we rejoice that we are citizens of two worlds. They have preceded us and have joined our host of Brethren in that other world, where God, who is the Father and Master of us all, awaits their coming.
Always when we stand in the presence of death, we are tempted to ask the question as did the prophet of old: "If a man die, shall he live again?" How empty our lives would be if there were no answer to this question ! But God, in his infinite mercy, has given us the greatest gift of all - the ability to reach into the inner recesses of our souls. And from that depth within each of us, we have always found the faith to sustain us even in the darkest and most difficult moments. So we can say with certainty that just as surely as the questions of fear and doubt arise in our minds, so comes the assurance that life does not end with death.
The history of man and our present experiences in life bear testimony:
That man is a citizen of two worlds;
That only eternity can fulfill the dreams and hopes and ideals within each of us;
That a lifetime on Earth is not enough;
That God, in His infinite wisdom has plans far beyond our comprehension.
It is this hope and this faith which sustain us, that dispel the fears that surround us in death. Because our Brothers were Masons, we know that this was their belief - the Immortality of the Soul was part of their spiritual vocabulary. They walked and worked and lived against the back drop of eternity. They believed that the God that created them and sustained them in life would not abandon them in death.
This white apron is known as a Lambskin. It is the badge of a Mason. Its whiteness served to remind our departed brothers of the innocence and purity of a righteous life. It reminds us that our Brother's earthly labors are finished. They have laid aside the working tools of life. May the record of our lives and actions be as pure and spotless as this fair emblem which will now be placed upon the coffins of our departed Brothers.
The sprig of Acacia is the emblem of our faith in the immortality of the soul. The evergreen leaves are symbolic of the conviction that life will continue to flourish even after death and that one day we shall be united in the house of many mansions, eternal in the heavens. The sprig of Acacia will now be placed upon the coffins of our departed Brothers. Let us pray.
Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, from Whom we come, in Whom we live and move and have our being, and unto whom we return, we thank You for the gift of life; for its wonders and mysteries; for its friendships and fellowships. We thank You for the ties that bind us to one another; for the meaning that lies hidden even in the heart of sorrow and grief...and for Your guiding hand along the way of our pilgrimage.
We give thanks to You for this Your servants, recalling all in them that made others love them. We thank You for the good and gracious influence in their homes and training; for all the goodness and truth that have passed from their lives into the lives of others and have made the world richer for their presence.
We pray for those whose hearts are heaviest and who in this moment need you more than ever. Guide them and bless them and lead them into that unfaltering trust that life does not end with death; that the Father who made us will care for us beyond the bounds of vision; even as He has cared for us in this earthly world.
We pray for a renewal of the gifts of faith, patience and enduring love in all of us. Help us to walk amid the things of this world with eyes open to the beauty and glory of the eternal. Amen
To the immediate family, relatives and friends of our departed Brothers, we extend our deepest sympathy. We can not fill the emptiness in your hearts. We can only urge that you turn to God, who alone can give you the strength to sustain you in this hour. Believe that "There is a land of pure delight where saints Immortal reign", and sing with the Psalmist: "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." May God grant you peace and keep you under His wing.
And now let us close this service with those familiar and comforting words from the Book of Numbers: The Lord bless thee and keep thee; The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee; The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
Solemn strikes the funeral chime,
Notes of our departing time,
As we journey here below,
On a pilgrimage of woe.
Brothers, now indulge a tear,
For mortality is here!
See how wide her trophies wave,
O'er the slumbers of the grave.
Here another guest we bring;
Seraphs of celestial wing,
To our funeral altar come,
Waft our friend and brother Home.
Lord of all, below, above,
Fill our hearts with truth and love;
As dissolves our earthly tie,
Take us to Thy Lodge on high.