homespun anecdote accents that it is time again for Masons to pull the
rope of freedom and cause the bell of liberty to send its clarion call
across our nation.
Let the bells ring calling us to a better world. To respond has been and is our supreme task. It is here that we win or lose the battle. It has been said: “The darker the day the brighter the light of Freemasonry is shown. In spite of persecution, Freemasonry has spread. The blood of the martyr for freedom has always been the seed of Freemasonry.” It is again time that we as Freemasons begin to ring the bells of liberty and act on what we say.
Consider the story of a Mason who once took his son back to the rural community in which he had grown up. After they had gone through the small village, the father took him to the corner drugstore where he had spent so many hours at the soda fountain. He took him by the school where he had first learned his lessons of life, took him by the old home place where at his mother’s knees he learned the foundation of morals and ethics. Then by the old swimming hole where he and his friends went skinny-dipping, and then to the vale where there was a white clapboard church.
Pulling up in front of the church, the father noted with great dismay that the whitewash was gone and the windows broken. The front door hung ajar and seemed about to fall. The father, moved by strong emotion, jumped out of the car with his small son and walked toward the church.
As they entered through the rickety door, he saw that the pulpit was askew. He saw that dust and cobwebs clung where beauty once adorned. Suddenly, his son noticed something dangling from the ceiling. It was a rope. He asked his father: “What’s that, Daddy?”
The father answered: “That’s the rope to the bell up in the steeple. I don’t know if the bell is still there, but I do remember that I would help my father hitch up the team early so that I could come and be the first one here and so be able to ring the bell.”
The boy said: “Daddy, why don’t you see if the bell is still there?”
And the father, with a mind flooded with the happy memories of when his mother, his father, his sister and his brothers worshipped there, took hold of the rope with both strong hands. And he began to pull it, and the large bell was still there. And it began to ring out over the countryside.
The little boy, in all of his excitement, said: “Ring it again, Daddy! Ring it again!” And he rang it again and again and again. But what he did not realize was that the people from miles around on that still summer day could hear the sound of that bell that had been so long silent. And they thought some tragedy had befallen the community. And so they hurriedly got into their pickups and their cars, and they hurried to the church within only a few minutes.
Soon there were 25 to 30 people standing in the churchyard. And the father began introducing his son to the people he had known in other days, and children with whom he had been reared, and some who were new. He explained to them what had happened, and he apologized. The past had met the present. The spirits of those who had labored long ago lent spirit to bring life to the church again.
To make a long story short, the church was revived. This is the message for the mission of Masonry today. Let us revive the past along with the stones from which we have been hewn, stones smoothed by the turbulence of time. Let them be strong. Let them give us stone-like strength for the present and the future.
It is time, again, for Masons to wake to the call, to pull the rope of freedom and allow the bell of liberty to give its clear and clarion call across our nation. Ring it again, my Brothers, ring it again for freedom’s sake, for Masonry’s sake, for our country’s sake.
Editor’s Note: The above essay is reprinted with permission from the Bulletin (September 1996) of the Scottish Rite Bodies, Alexandria, Virginia. No author attribution is available.