The Traveling Gavel

Discussion in 'Masonic Education' started by iainmason, Nov 2, 2009.

  1. iainmason

    iainmason Registered User

    The Traveling Gavel

    Ensor Notes November 19,2002

    The Ritual of the Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario states in the working tools lecture: “The Common Gavel is an important instrument of labour, and highly esteemed as an implement of art. Though recognized by various artists under different appellations, it is yet admitted by them all that no work of manual skill can be completed without it. – From the Common Gavel we learn that skill without exertion is of little avail, that labour is the lot of man; for the heart may conceive, and the head devise in vain, if the hand be not prompt to execute the designâ€.

    As you know I was in possession of a Traveling Gavel given to me by the Bro. Travis Collins, Master of Kingsland Lodge, Arkansas. I took that Gavel to 14 lodges in my Masonic District, Hamilton “Bâ€, Lackawanna Lodge New York, Ensor Lodge Kentucky, Kingsland Lodge Arkansas, and Pleasant Hill Ldg. Texas. Wherever I took it, it was warmly received. I was glad to relinquish my possession of it to Wor. Brother Leo Scott at Pleasant Hill Ldg. but at the same time I had become attached to it and it was with some sadness that I did leave it in Texas.

    It is such a simple tool, originally it’s was just a rock in a prehistoric ancestors hand, now the rock is replaced with a shaped head attached to a handle. The Gavel is an important instrument of labour; it is the symbol of authority. It calls meetings to order, opens and closes one of the worlds largest financial markets, the New York Stock Exchange; no judge is without one, as it calls the courtroom to order; the Master of the Lodge uses it to call the brethren to order, he orders them up or down with it’s raps.

    The gavel is used to create the simplest to the most ornate design. Its size or the force by which it is applied isn’t what determines the outcome. The artist wielding it is its master; his skill is what determines the outcome.

    It has been called many names, a gavel, a maul, and a hammer. It comes in many shapes and sizes, but no matter what it looks like or is called, it requires skill to wield it. As we advance through the chairs of a Masonic Lodge we use different symbols or tools to mark our progress. The Stewarts and Deacons carry Wands, and as they learn their respective chairs their goal is to be able to wield the Gavel. As Wardens they have a Gavel, but must only use it as directed by the Master. When the day finally arrives and the Warden is deemed welled skilled enough to assume the Chair of King Solomon, he is installed and taught the final lesson of how to use the Gavel. He is now the Master of the Lodge and in his hand is the Gavel that rules all others in the Lodge. The skill of the lodge rests firmly on the skill of the master.

    The Traveling Gavel that I took to all those Lodges had a very important message and contained in that message was a lesson. The Gavel sent from a foreign Jurisdiction came with a greeting of friendship. There was an implied trust sent with that Gavel, that it would be used to promote friendship and brotherly love among distant Masons, but there was also another very important lesson contained in the message but it wasn’t written down. That was a lesson of Morality. How easy would it be to forget to send it off to another Lodge; or to neglect to reply to its owner; to keep it for one own use?

    As Masons we are taught that the principles of the Masonry are Virtue, Morality and Brotherly Love. We are constantly admonished in all that we do to keep these principles sacred. We are to live our lives by these principles, no matter how uneven or how uncertain the path of life is. It takes a skillful master to send a message as subtle as this, and only the most important instrument of labour can truly convey this message in such a pure and simple way. It is no wonder that the Gavel is so highly esteemed as an implement of art.



Share My Freemasonry