Today is the annual observance of the feast of St. John the Evangelist (sometimes called St. John the Apostle as well). One of the lodges to which I belong traditionally installed its officers on this day – as do some Grand Lodges. As some have noted, neither St. John revered by Freemasons has anything to do with building or architecture. What makes the Evangelist worth our devotion as men and Masons?
John is the only apostle who (according to tradition) lived to old age. While modern biblical scholarship tells a different tale, the early Freemasons grew up in a culture that taught he wrote one of the four gospels that tell of the life and ministry of Jesus. One of the notable features of that story is that John never refers to himself by name but as the one whom Jesus loved.
At 51 I appreciate that John’s great revelation (the book of Revelation) comes in that latter part of life. The one whom Jesus loved had lived almost his entire life before that revelation came to him. Like a medieval cathedral that took generations of planning and execution to complete, John’s life laid the foundation for that moment of profound vision.
Our building is not complete until life nears its end. We make our plans (often unaware about how the Grand Architect of the Universe plans in parallel and sometimes contrast) and place our stones. The work of a lifetime is just that – a work unfinished until we lay the last stone with our last strength.
May we build faithfully in the year to come. May we reflect with satisfaction and gratitude on what God has allowed us to build – even if partially. Even in the moments when we think we are finished… or may be frustrated at our lack of understanding of what our building will be… may we remain faithful to our calling and profession.