The Stone Rejected
The above was written by Rt. Ex. Companion A. Cotow
What is Freemasonry? It is a peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols. We have often heard it said, that symbolism is an important part of Masonry. I shall not only confirm this statement, but will endeavour to elaborate upon it.
Every degree in Freemasonry , the work and ceremonies connected with it and the symbolism presented, illustrate to us Masons, a moral lesson, a message, which in turn, reminds us of our obligations and teaches us to discriminate between what is right and what is wrong, what is proper and what is improper. It furthermore instructs us how to regulate our daily life without giving offence to our neighbours, and utilising every moment of our presence here on earth, in doing good. The Volume of the sacred Law is rich in these messages to mankind. All of these are veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols.
King David, the great warrior king, was also, as you well know, a great poet, musician and writer of prophetic visions. The Book of Psalms, written by him some 3,000 years ago, contains many allegorical visions, and serves as a moral guide, even in this advanced civilisation of our modern age.
Take for instance the Psalm 133, well known to us all, a song of the degrees of David, “Behold how good and how very pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity”. This Psalm conveys to us a message of peace, love and harmony, for, there can be no greater blessing than that of spending your entire life among friends, among brethren. The literal translation is not ‘dwell’ but ‘to sit’. Hence can you visualise anything to equal that great pleasure of sitting together in the south, enjoying each other’s company, to listen to words of wisdom, and sharing the happiness and joy, while you entertain your brethren.
In the Degree of Mark Master Mason, we refer to psalm 118:22 which reads as follows:- “The stone which the builders refused is become the headstone of the corner”. The story of the rejected stone refers, according to our ritual, to the building of King Solomon’s Temple, this we must consider as being historically incorrect.
King David, when writing this Psalm, must have had in mind a moral message, which he tried to convey to mankind for posterity. The story referred to in our ritual, connected with the Psalm (118:22) should be considered a fable. It can be applied to many events in the history of mankind, or to a number of persons who left an impression upon the lives of many future generations. This psalm, is part of that peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols.
Psalm 118:22 teaches us true democracy, liberty, equality and fraternity, and above all tolerance. It impresses upon our mind the importance of a ‘just and correct’ impression, of sound judgement in discriminating between right and wrong, never judging a person lightly, or to condemn him on account of the colour of his skin, or the shape of his face or nose, or because his outlook on life and his ideas and views, political or religious happen to differ from our own, for God only knows we ourselves may be wrong.
We find in the pages of history many persons who, like the ‘stone rejected’, became martyrs of prejudice and intolerance, bigotry and lack of understanding, legalised murder, ill treatment, persecutions, forced slavery, apartheid etc. Yet among those so cruelly treated, you will find personalities who played a tremendous part in shaping history, in world affairs, in religion and politics and for the good of all mankind.
Jesus was rejected simply because his ideologies did not conform to the then accepted rules, they were not in accordance with the laid down plans and specifications, they were not properly marked and numbered, meaning that they had not passed the censor, the examiner, the overseer.
Maimonides, the greatest exponent of the Bible, was rejected in the late 12th century, for the sole reason that his views conflicted with the accepted ones. His interpretations and commentaries to the Volume of the Sacred Law though today are classed as the most appropriate ones, were during his lifetime, shunned, opposed, belittled and even banned. He was for some time excommunicated for his radical views.
Dr. Pasteur was laughed at, persecuted and even physically attacked for daring to tell the world that germs really exist and are harmful. The washing of hands was considered stupid and was rejected. Yet his name is immortalised, by pasteurising milk, and by his system of curing many diseased in the Pasteur institutes the world over.
Dr. Erlich, Professor Albert Einstein, Robert Burns, Captain Dreyfuss and others, too many to enumerate, were all victims of persecution and intolerance. Many martyrs are recorded in the pages of history, who have laid down their lives believing and working for a just cause, so that we today, may have a better and more comfortable world to live in.
This Psalm, and indeed this degree, teaches us above all to exercise tolerance. It teaches us to be patient with our fellow man, and never condemn a person for the sole reason that his views clash with ours, because, at the same time, our ideas clash with his. Go to any length in your endeavour to understand him, and then, you can live in peace with all men. They, and we, are all children of the same Creator, created by Him in his own image, and placed on this planet, the earth by His command, and only the Grand Overseer of the Universe has the right to decide, to approve or reject, to reward, or to punish, order life or death.
Our task on this earth is to preserve peace, love and harmony, to preserve and promote His great creation. And, who knows, any person, like the stone rejected, if refused recognition, may one day be found to be the One Chosen by the G.I.M. Himself, to be the saviour of all mankind. It is therefore not the symbol, but the thought behind it, the message it conveys that is of the greatest importance to our Masonic teachings.
How often in our World Wide Fraternity do we find “Non Acceptance” simply because “That’s not the way we do that here”. Surely the author of this paper is admonishing us all, in every aspect of our lives, to listen, evaluate with an open mind & decide before taking action.
Have a wonderful Day & God Bless Norm
The Stone Rejected