Page 35 - Education Programs
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                                          By Rev. Jan L. Beaderstadt

                                      Website: Undated

         “[Our ancient brethren dedicated their lodges to King Solomon, because he was our
         first Most Excellent Grand Master.] But in modern times they are dedicated to St.
         John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist, who were eminent patrons of Masonry;
         and since their time there is represented in every regular and well governed Lodge
         a certain Point within a circle; the Point representing an individual Brother; the
         Circle representing the boundary which he is never to suffer his passions, prejudices
         or interests, to betray him on any occasion. This Circle is embroidered by two
         perpendicular parallel lines, representing St. John the Baptist and St. John the
         Evangelist, who are perfect parallels in Christianity as well as Masonry. Upon the
         vertex rests the book of Holy Scriptures, which points out the whole duty of man.
         In going round this Circle, we necessarily touch upon these two lines, as well as
         upon the Holy Scriptures; and while a Mason keeps himself thus circumscribed it
         is impossible that he should materially err.” (Michigan Monitor)

As a new entered apprentice, I stood and looked at that circle with the two parallel lines, and at my
proficiency examination, recited it with perfection. But what does this really mean to me, a Man
and a Mason? And why the Sts. John? Indeed, why? They were unique characters of Christianity
who were strange in their own right.

At first glance in the Scriptures, they seem like strange people to hold up as examples. John the
Baptist's diet consisted of wild honey and locusts. Honey certainly is appealing, but the locust! A
study of Middle Eastern customs indicate that they could be eaten fried, boiled, dried or raw.
Certainly not a person you'd want to invite to your lodge’s next potluck. He dressed in camel hair
clothing and his hair and beard had a wild look about it. And he didn't have a lot of tact, he told
you the truth straight to your face. He called the Pharisees a "brood of vipers" and was fond of
telling every-one to repent. In our "politically correct" era, he would certainly not be riding high
in the polls.

St. John the Evangelist was also a different sort. He was a rich kid (Scripture tells us that his father
owned at least one fishing boat on the Galilee and they had servants) and at the beginning of the
Gospel of John he was looking to find himself. He first attached himself to John the Baptist until
called by Christ. He was hot tempered, so much so that Jesus called John and his brother James
"boanerges" meaning "sons of thunder." He lived up to that name when the villagers in a small
town in Samaria refused to welcome Jesus and the disciples, so he asked Jesus if he (John) could
rain fire and brimstone down upon them (Luke 9:51-55). Fortunately for the village, Jesus rebuked
him. John was also self-seeking, asking with his brother James for thrones on the right and left of
Christ when Jesus set up his early kingdom, thus placing himself above the other disciples.

But when one goes beyond their faults, the Sts. John have some strong qualities that every Mason
should exhibit. When looking at John the Baptist, one must look at him through an Eastern light.
John was a Nazirite from birth, literally set aside for service to God. He let his hair and beard grow
wild, because like Sampson, he could not cut his hair, which was forbidden by Mosaic Law. His
appearance brought to mind, to the people who heard him, the stories of Elijah the prophet who

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