DUTY is the moral magnetism which controls and guides the true Mason's course over the tumultuous seas of life. Whether the stars of honor, reputation, and reward do or do not shine, in the light of day or in the darkness of the night of trouble and adversity, in calm or storm, that unerring magnet still shows him the true course to steer, and indicates with certainty where-away lies the port which not to reach involves shipwreck and dishonor…
To perform that duty, whether the performance be rewarded or unrewarded, is his sole care. And it doth not matter, though of this performance there may be no witnesses, and though what he does will be forever unknown to all mankind.
— BROTHER ALBERT PIKE, "Morals and Dogma"
FREEMASONRY instructs that the greatest among us is the one who serves best. The question remains, however, how does one know how best to serve? Moreover, what does it mean to truly serve?
In this short work, Brother George Arundale answers — with simple, yet wise, aphorisms — a multitude of questions, which may arise related to service: providing his vision of service gained through decades of laboring for humanity. Arundale explains that true service requires acting without expectation of reward, as well as, a humbling of one's self to whatever work one is called to accomplish.
As a Mason, he knew that he must do his duty regardless of the consequence, regardless of whether he found the work he was called to do somehow beneath him. There is no assumption of weakness or inequality in service for to truly serve we must do so with respect, paying homage through our actions.
Thus, we are called to serve with honor, loyalty, and admiration, not as much to help as to revere. It is to humble oneself in the acknowledgement of the beauty and divine spark which resides in all of humanity.
To illuminate the way of service, let us consider an example of servanthood found in the Gospel of John. Here, the tale is recounted of Jesus serving his disciples by washing their feet.
In the first century, the people of Israel walked in sandals down dusty roads which covered their feet with dirt and debris. Before a communal meal, it was imperative that one's feet be washed before reclining seated at low tables for dining. Yet, this was the lowly job of a slave to touch and cleanse the unclean feet of travelers. On this occasion, no servants or slaves were present to accomplish this humiliating task. Rather than disgrace themselves, they sat down to the meal without their normal ritual of cleansing and began to debate who was the greatest amongst them.
As a wise Master and Rabbi, Jesus taught with his actions, as well as, his words. To their shock and outrage, the disciplines realized that he had risen from his place, tied an apron around his waist, filled a basin with water, and kneeled down to clean their feet. Despite their protests, Jesus continued his work and answered their debate as to which of them would be regarded as the greatest.
Who is the greater? The one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.
Silence filled the room. His task completed; Jesus offer this further explanation:
Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.
For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.
Thus, may we tread the path of service reflecting on the teachings contained in this work, which mirrors the instruction bestowed by Freemasonry and the biblical accounts of Jesus Christ: a true Master worthy of our emulation. May we each develop the heart and mind of a faithful servant: ready at all times to serve our fellowman.
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