NOW IS THE HOUR
by Charles R. Glassmire
This Short Talk Bulletin is based upon an address given by Most Worshipful Brother Charles R.
Glassmire, PGM of Maine, at the semi-annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire
in November, 1976. We thank Brother Glassmire,
who is Editor of The Maine Mason, for sharing this
We are always thinking in Masonry about
the word "building." We are told that Masons
are builders. Yet how often do we ever stop and
think of the true meanings of this word? We
should consider it under four headings.
First, we must consider the building of the
vast universe; that product of the Grand Architect of the Universe; that inestimable gift of
God to Man; that structure which we use every
day but seldom do we stop to appreciate it and
to give thanks. Sometime ago, a group of us
stood atop Mount Blanc, at an altitude of
15,000 feet, viewing the majestic Alps. The
beautiful fertile valley lay below us with the
glaciers above. It was very easy to be awe
struck, to close your eyes and to give a prayer
of thanks to Almighty God. How often in our
own communities do we ever look around us
and give thanks for the things that do not have
actual physical beauty and yet see beneath them
the handiwork of the Great Architect of the
Universe? Yes, even sometimes in things which
are actually ugly to the sight. Who can look at
the town drunk, for instance, and see in him a
work of God? Yes, it's a work of God but a
neglect of man and perhaps we are largely
responsible for much of this neglect. We pass
him day by day Iying in the gutter, when
perhaps by stretching forth a helping hand, giving a pat on the back or a word of encouragement, we might help that man to achieve his
rightful place in society, all to the glory of God.
It's up to us to help make this universe the place
that He intended it to be.
Secondly, if we're thinking in terms of
building, we must think in terms of the fact that
man is a builder and from the day of his birth
he is constantly engaged in the building of his
own personality and his own character. Every
day we have the opportunity to do things which
will make us better individuals but so many
times we neglect it. There is an old saying which
says, "What man needs not nor sows most
abundantly grows. " This, of course, in one
connotation refers to the weeds in that
neglected garden behind the house. But think
for a moment of the neglect which permits
those weeds to grow inside the mind and the
character of each and every one of us. Before
long, just as the beautiful flowers are destroyed
by the weeds in the garden, so is that great mind
which is potentially there destroyed by the
weeds of neglect. A little poem says it better:
Of all that I hear and see
Day by day I am building me.
I alone have the right to choose
What to reject and what to use.
Nobody's workmanship but mine
Can keep the structure true and fine,
Strong or feeble, false or true.
I build myself by the deeds I do.
Yes, Brethren, remember we are saved not
by what we think but by what we are. Day by
day we build ourselves by the deeds we do.
Next, if we are going to consider man as a
builder, we must appreciate the fact that man is
also commissioned to build an ideal social
structure and Masons must qualify as living
stones for that structure if it is going to be the
society it can be. We have another great responsibility as Masons. We tell the world that as
Masons we take good men and make them better. Are we really doing this today in Masonry?
How many times have we had the unpleasant
experience of raising a Brother from that Altar
and having him go out the door and never see-
ing him again? Statistically, one out of three of
the Brethren that are raised at that Altar will
leave that night and never come back. Why?
The answer is obvious and perhaps falls into
two categories. First of all, we have lost the
opportunity by failing to impress upon him the
beauties of Freemasonry. We have perhaps
done the work in a slipshod fashion. Officers
have mumbled the words which have been
poorly memorized and the Brother gets very little from it. He sees nothing that you and I have
seen as we have gone through Masonry . . . of
the things which bring us back. Secondly, so
many times the man's dignity is insulted. How
often have we unfortunately seen a man literally ridiculed for the amusement of some of the
Brethren on the sidelines. We tell a man to kneel
at the Altar and pray to Almighty God and
then tell him to arise, follow the conductor and
fear no danger, only at a later date to have him
treated in such a manner that he can't see the
beauties because of the lack of dignity. We are
told that of those who do come back, another
third are going within a year. Once again, the
opportunity is lost. No man becomes a Mason
simply by taking three degrees any more than a
man becomes a Christian simply by joining a
church. It requires work. It requires work on
his part and it requires work on our part. First
to impart the knowledge to him and secondly to
give him a job to do. Only if he is kept busy will
he return as you and I have done. Yes, we can
take good men and make them better and we
have the lools with which to work right there on
That great American poet, Brother Edwin
Markham, put it in verse this way:
We are blind until we see
That in the human plan
Nothing is worth the making if
It does not make the man.
Why build these cities glorious
If man unbuilded goes?
In vain we build the work unless
The builder also grows.
Lastly, my Brethren, as we speak in terms of
building, we must appreciate the fact that from
the moment we are born until the day we die we
are constantly engaged in the building of that
house not made with hands, eternal in the
heavens. How many of us go through life consciously building that house? As young men
we're immortal. No young man ever thinks of
the possibility of dying. It's only when we get
older that we realize that we cannot expect an
exemption from the common fate of man, but
sometimes by the time that realization comes,
it's too late and we have not begun, let alone
finished the building of that house not made
with hands. I suggest to you that if you have
not started building it yet, now is the hour. We
are very fortunate to have religion to assist us in
this and I don't mean necessarily the membership in any particular church or sect. I'm thinking in terms of the definition of religion which
says, "Religion is the life of God in the soul of
man. " We have the power to reach God in
prayer and yet most of us waste that power. I
suspect that ninety percent of all of the prayers
that are wafted Heavenward are never heard
because they are simply a repetition of the
"gimmies." "Gimmie" this, "gimmie" that,
"gimmie" me something else, when really what
we should be praying for is the strength and the
character to carry on in daily life, working for
those things which are pleasing in His sight as
we build our house not made with hands. Oh,
it's a pretty tough world as we look around.
Many times we come home discouraged by
what we see--war and pestilence on one hand,
dishonesty in high places on the other hand. We
may get into bed at night and with all these
things around us find it very difficult to sleep.
Unfortunately, too many people in this culture
are turning to drugs. There's no answer here.
Drugs may provide a small portion of oblivion,
but later the problem is still there. Other people
say if you come home at night and get into bed
and can't sleep, that you should count sheep. I
don't believe this works either. No, Brethren, if
you come home at night, get into bed and cannot sleep, don't count sheep--talk to the
In the meeting notice of a Lodge in one of
the Western Jurisdictions, we recently saw an
item which sums it up nicely:
"A favorite pastime with many people--
especially women--is rearranging
"Don't you think it is about time we, the
human race, get busy and rearrange our
mental furniture? Well, I do, and I think
we had better do it real fast.
"First of all, we should take everything
from the walls of the mind. Then we
should sweep the floor and scrub it so it
will be clean.
"Next, we ought to change our thoughts
let us move the hatred table into the love
corner, the sinful dresser behind the door
of forgiveness, and the beds of prejudice
by the wall of kindness.
"After this is done, we can lie down and
rest with a clean mind and life."
Brother Builders, Now is the hour!