Monday, September 6, 2021

‘The most acceptable prayer’


“…to work well in our appointed sphere is the most acceptable prayer that man can offer….”

Twenty-Second Degree
Cerneau Scottish Rite

It is Labor Day today here in the United States, a national holiday that has Masonic overtones. And, here on the East Coast, we are several hours from sundown, which will bring the start of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year celebration.

This new edition of Collectanea from the Grand College of Rites, containing degrees 19-29 of the Cerneau Scottish Rite circa 1807, is speaking to me again.

The Twenty-Second Degree, titled “Knight of the Royal Axe, or Prince of Libanus,” sees the admission of a Noahchite, from the previous degree, into the College of these knights. The working tools here are the saw (patience and perseverance), the plane (“cuts down inequalities”), and, of course, the axe (“agent of civilization and improvement”).

In championing virtuous labor over decadent idleness, the Master of Ceremonies renders a historical lecture to the aspirant for the degree. (I won’t edit the spelling or other errors you’ll catch.)

The Tsidunians or Phoenicians were ever ready to aid the Israelites in their holy enterprises. The tie between them was the mysteries, into which the principle persons of both nations were initiated, Moses having necessarily received them while in Egypt, before he could marry the daughter of a priest of On. These mysteries, modified by Solomon, or perhaps at an earlier day by Joshua, or even Moses, to suit the genius and manners of the Jewish people, became Masonry, such as was practiced at the building of the Temple, and such as has in part come down to us. Khurum, King of Tsur in Phoenicia, and Khurum Abai, also a Phoenician and not a Jew, were likewise initiates; and hence the intimate connection between them and Solomon, as Masons. The people of Tsidun, a city of Phoenicia, were employed by Noah to cut cedars on Mount Libanus, of which to build the Ark, under the superintendence of Japhet. His descendants re-peopled Tsidun and Phoenicia, and procured and furnished the cedar from Lebanon to build the Ark of the Covenant; and at a later day his posterity, under Adon Khurum, cut in the same forests cedars for King Solomon; and, at a time still later, they felled timber on the same mountains to construct the Second Temple.

It continues, but that is the section that comes to mind today. Rosh Hashanah commemorates the Creation of the world. Labor Day was instituted to honor the human progress possible only through honest work.

A good and sweet New Year, to all who celebrate, and best wishes for a day of rest to those who still work.

No comments: