The M.E.M.°., is comparatively simple in its outline, it is the shortest degree in the series, but so profound and expressive are its symbols that it is of preeminent value in the Masonic system. It has been stated time and time again that Masonry is not a religion, is not a substitute for the church, and itself rejects such claim. It is, however, deeply and helpfully religious in its ceremonies and teachings. It proclaims in firm voice the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of man, the resurrection of the body and the immortality of the soul. It inculcates great moral lessons that arise from these truths, and teaches them so earnestly that no man can embrace Masonry and order his life according to its teachings without being a better and more religious man. And of all the degrees of Ancient Masonry, there is no doubt that the degree of M.E.M. is the most intensely religious of the series.
The degree deals entirely with the completion and dedication of King Solomon’s Temple, that glorious structure erected as a fit dwelling place for the Most High. Its completion is symbolized by the placing of the keystone in the principle arch. Now completed, there remains the dedication to its purpose. With earnest prayer and costly sacrifice, this was accomplished in the presence of the religious and secular dignitaries of the nation, and the congregation of the people. The Ark of the Covenant, the most sacred treasure of Israel, symbolizing the presence of God, was seated in the holy of Hollies. The acceptance and approbation of God was confirmed by the cloud of glory that filled the Temple.
Use of the Temple as a symbol not only of human life but of the individual man is of ancient origin. St. Paul in his message to the Corinthians some nineteen hundred years ago says: “Know ye not that ye are the Temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you.” As the Temple stood unique in glory as compared to all other structures, so stands man in contrast to all other created beings on earth. As the architectural beauty of the Temple symbolizes the physical perfection of man at his best, so may we look on its interior glories as typifying that beauty of character which makes up the true man, whose life and conduct are a daily sacrifice of well doing to the Most High.
Let us never forget that the Temple of life that we are building is for the indwelling of God, and that as the Temple of Solomon was dedicated to His Service, so should our lives be dedicated to the same service. Let us note that when the Temple was dedicated, the presence of God was manifested. While the building of the temple of our life continues to the end of life itself, yet, unlike Solomon’s Temple, we can dedicate it to the Most High while in building and before completion. And so, by laboring diligently and earnestly towards the completion of our earthly temple, fitting it for the abiding place of God, and dedicating our lives to His service, we too may receive his acceptance and approbation by the radiance of His glory shining in our hearts.
One last thought, King Solomon’s Temple did not last forever. It served God for a while and then was destroyed, but by its destruction, it made way for a new Temple built on the ruins of the old. So it is with the temple of life which we are building to the service of the Most High. It shall last for a while and then pass away, and in its passing, make way for the temple of the New Life in that “undiscovered country from which borne no traveler returns.”
“Then let us so labor here that when we are called to that far distant country, we may there receive the wages promised by the Grand Master of the Universe, to all his faithful people.”