The North Carolina Mason

September/October 2017

North Carolina Mason

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September/October 2017 The North Carolina Mason Page 5 ■ see MESSAGE, page 7 H ave you ever thought about what your last words or actions might be? It is time for me to do so, because this is my final column for the North Carolina Mason as your Grand Master. I will say thank you in my final report to Annual Communication in 2018, but for now, I want to share what I feel is a much more important message with you. My mother died a little over a year ago. She used to always say to me, "Son, start out like you want to finish up," and "Remember who you are." roughout my life, I've tried to do what I thought she meant by those words. I have always tried to love others, even when they didn't return it. I've always tried to end things on a good note, even when it was impossible to do so. I've never tried to hurt or disappoint anyone – even though I know that I have. It always has been my intention to lead in love. I've tried to remember my blessings and always be grateful. It's who I am. Last September after Annual Communica- tion, we went to work as we began striving for excellence in education, patriotism, philan- thropy, Masonic membership, and affiliation with the larger community. At my installation in December, I alluded to the fact that my father had died a little more than a year before I became a Mason. Using my father's words when he was going out the door to the paper mill, "Lets go to work," we have indeed, worked together. Relationships have been formed and strengthened. I hope we have come to realize that it is our relationships with one another that are the strength, support, wisdom, and beauty of our beloved frater- nity. We must continue to go to work on our relationships with everyone, especially those in the world who still wonder what Masons actu- ally do, if we are to become better men and the world is to ever be a better place. Over the course of a little more than a year, I've asked much of everyone and you have delivered. ank you. I've loved serving you this year, and especially appreciate my wife's patience. I've met and made many new friends, renewed many old acquaintances, and even tried to engage in some problem solving along the way. No one was ever a bother. All of us are children of God, worthy of love. My heart is filled with gratitude for everyone who wanted to meet on the level, act by the plumb, and part on the square. One of my favorite stories is about St. John the Evangelist. As he was exiled to the island of Patmos during the persecution of Christians by the Roman Empire, the story goes that he started getting a bit delusional before his passing. Yet, near the end of his life, as those around him were trying to make sense of what he was trying to say, his final words came out as clear as they could be. "Little children, let us love one another." Our last words and actions are important. For me, it's not an "amen" or "So mote it be." While we may not always get to pick what or when our last words or actions will be, we can work toward them while we live, move, and have our being. Quite frankly, "love one another" captures it all for me. I look forward to the remaining duties there are to perform this year. I look forward to a brighter future because our Grand Line officers are the best Grand Line in the world. Now it's time for me to finish up. Behold how swift the time has passed! I ask you all to remember Grand Master William Richardson Davie, who roared like a lion and reached for excellence in the early years of our nation. Remember to be a pillar in your communities, lodges, and relationships with one another. Remember to tell people you love them before it's too late. ank you, everyone. I love you. Let's continue to go to work. Let's "start out like we finish up." Let's remember "who we are." Accordingly brethren, as we continue to go to work whether it be our start or our finish, may these words always be as clear as they can be and define who we are: "Love one another." Let's Go to Work! A heart filled with gratitude By A. Gene Cobb Jr. Grand Master A Statement Of Concern, Care, and Guidance From A. Gene Cobb, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina A.F. & A.M.: Among the first words a man hears when he becomes a Mason are: "Freemasonry encourages all that is good, kind, and charitable; and reproves all that is vicious, cruel, and oppressive." ese words were true when our fraternity began and they are even more true and necessary today. We live in a time of religious and political conflict, where tension, anger, and hatred have seized too many human hearts. Freemasons in North Carolina do not now, nor will we ever condone behavior that is vicious, cruel, or oppressive. We are tolerant people, but never of evil, never of murder, never of treason. We are Masons. Masons build. We have built a brotherhood of good men of all backgrounds, a brotherhood that has made them better husbands, fathers, and citizens by encouraging and cultivating friendship, morality, and brotherly love for more than 250 years. Now, we must assist in building a bridge to healing. How will we do this? We will be good men, strictly obeying the moral law. We will be peaceable subjects who cheerfully conform to the laws of the country in which we reside. We do not engage in plots and conspiracies against government. We pay proper respect to civil law and judges so that we might live creditably and act honorably. We will remain cautious in our behavior, but courteous to all so that we might avoid private quarrels. In fact, we charge our Masters with these responsibilities at every installation and we hold our members to this same standard. Do we have members who misun- derstand our teachings and break our rules? Sure we do. Sadly, such members exist in every organization. Will we exercise appropriate disci- pline and hold one another account- able to what we are supposed to be? We do and we will. History has taught our gentle Grand Master reminds us Masons are builders

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