The trowel is an instrument used by Operative Masons to spread the cement which unites a building into one common mass or whole." So says our ritual. From months of use spreading and smoothing the cement, the trowel becomes worn and is replaced.
After many years of labor, the Master workman wearies and lays down his tools either in retirement or to answer the last roll call. However, though both the trowel and the workman have served their purpose and been discarded, the great cathedral erected to the Supreme Architect of the Universe, the warehouse dedicated to business, the modest cottage sheltering the workman and his family, or even the house of confinement established for the safety of the citizenry continue on down through the years as a "solid Mass" of architecture due to the strong and stable bond of cement with which the building material was united.
The cement to which our ritual refers is a mortar consisting of a combination of several materials. One of these is a fine, gray powder which from long usage is known by the trade name cement. This cement is in reality rock of a certain type, heated to an extreme temperature or actually burned in a fire until it loses all its impurities and crumbles into the fine powder we know as cement.
The second ingredient is sand. Sand is also rock that has been dislodged by glaciers or other forces, perhaps as far in the past as the ice age, tumbled down mountain streams, through falls and rapids and on into rivers which sweep it to the bays and gulfs and so down to the sea, tumbling it and washing it until it is ground into the fine particles we know as sand. One other material is added to bind together the cement and sand.
This third material is water, pure unadulterated water, which has long been the symbol of life, for without it nothing living can exist. These articles are mixed in the proper proportions forming the mortar used by the Operative Mason and referred to in our ritual as cement. The ingredients must be pure, the cement fresh and dry, and the sand clean and sharp and the water free from impurities if the structure in which it is used is to stand through the years as a monument to the workmanship of the builder.
"But it is used symbolically for the far more noble and glorious "purpose" of spreading the cement of Brotherly Love and Affection." Here the educated Brother associates the mortar used in a building with those truly Masonic virtues, Brotherly Love and Affection. It seems quite certain that our Brother realizes that these Masonic attributes must not merely be word pictures, pleasing to our senses, but that if our Masonic structure is to endure, the Brotherly Love and Affection which cements it together must be as solid, sturdy and durable as rock.
As the rock of which the Operative Mason's cement mortar is composed, it must be devoid of all impurities as if tested by fire, clean as by the continuous washing by the waters of life and joined into one binding and abiding cement by the life we so willing share with our Brother.
The trowel may be worn and discarded, the Master Mason may have joined the Celestial Lodge above, but the cement they together have spread lives on forever and is the cement to which the ritualist refers when he says: "(the cement) which unites us into one sacred band or society of friends and brothers--a Temple of living stones, among whom no contention should ever exist, save that noble contention, or rather emulation, of who can best work and best agree."
According to these standards some members never will become true Masons.
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Sarasota Lodge No. 147