Ohio Royal Arch Masons
A Chapter titled, “HIGHER Mathematics: When 3 times three equals SEVEN!”
By Kenny Kubach, PHP
Heights Chapter No. 206
DEO Ohio’s 16th Capitular District
Balance, Companions, 3 times three.
In three groups of 3 companions in triangular formation crafting a triangle around the Altar, their right arms clasped by the right hands of each are deliberately brought down in what I would describe as an almost violent manner close to, but never touching the left “chain”. I’ve noticed that some companions are zealous when performing this “balancing act”, if I may assess it as such. As I ponder this exercise of balancing and the almost mysterious sense of balance that I feel while “squaring up” my right foot as one “leg” of the equilateral triangle with my companions’ shoes before the High Priest’s order for balance, I have become unsteady (only in my mind) at the same time. Has our Living Arch become a weighing machine or a set of scales? If so, then what or whom is being equalized?
You might be making light of or giving me a short weight to my aforementioned questions. After all, it’s at the making of a Freemason that we learn about balance. Further, let’s not rule out that if the twenty-four inch Gauge weighed in against the Square on a Masonic scale, it would not be even close. The much-written-about Square out-weighs the 24 inch Gauge by any measure. But, on a reweigh basis by itself measured over time, the 24 inch Gauge stretched out over the course of a day wins “the tale of the tape” for all divisions of time. Its importance begins to tell “time”. As explained in the Entered Apprentice Degree, the 24 inch Gauge is emblematical of the 24 hours in a day. Its lesson of balancing our lives within three equal 8 hour time slots might just be the “light” weight Masonic emblem alluded to in the opening of a Chapter of Royal Arch Masons. How so? I have some time to kill, so I will lay out what’s weighing heavily on my mind. The 24 inch Gauge, a ruler, assesses that a day is divided into eight hours for our usual vocation, eight for rest and refreshment and eight hours to the service of God and distressed, worthy brethren. My life is nowhere near that balance. I need to lose some weight on my work time. Meditating on my service to God, I’d better eat more “soul food”. I need a balanced diet, as I weigh myself on that. (No need to judge the refreshment.) Assessing the 3 time slots of the 24 inch Gauge in light of my time management, my scale is out-of-balance. How am I going to find the right balance of me time, down time, family time, work time, Masonic time and His Time?
As I juggle it all, I sometimes feel weighed down by my own “balancing act”. Often fueled by an I-can-do-it sense of pride, I sometimes wonder if the emotional high I get from multi-tasking is really not productive. I question my ability to track several tasks at the same time. It seems that my to-do list keeps growing longer. Technology sometimes hampers more than it helps as time speeds by me while emailing. Do I need to reply to all? I’ve got to “lighten” up. I’ve started to jot down exactly what I did during the day and how long it took. I am finding time that I am not using as well as I’d like. (Better late than never) I’ve got to stop the auto-yes. Instead, I ask myself how I can do that. This way I can take a step back and check how this new task balances out on my 24 inch Gauge. Finally, I carefully examine my commitments and balance the ones that reward me, such as good deeds, against others that lessen me.
I feel better now that I have completed my DIY reality check and balance. But then, I am grading myself on my curve of perfection. I’d like to stay ahead of my own curve, but I know that it’s a learning curve. I’ve learned that I can’t tip the scale to the point of perfect balance by myself.
There is one other time in which a “balancing act” plays out in the Ritual. Nine companions weigh in at the Altar in varying degrees of “weight” for the opening prayer. It is there, at the Altar, the High Priest also orders for balance while the companions should be kneeling at the conclusion of the prayer. In that position the left arm chain would have a physical position level with the breast. This position for the left chain is supported by the Council Ritual wherein it states “left hands at level of breast” for the Royal Master degree. The same deliberately powerful chained right arm movements down to the breast of each companion then occurs on balance.
Here is where I will attempt to “walk” on a tightrope. (With just my quill in one hand) Balancing is a high wire act equal to the performance of your life. It’s not a spectator sport, although everyone around you is watching. When it seems you keep “tipping the scales” with “weight” gain or loss, have your 24 inch Gauge in hand for balance as your only safety net is God. If one is trying to weigh less, it’s a “rule” that you will step on a scale at certain intervals for an assessment. My first weigh-in was on a hospital scale. I tipped the scales at 7 pounds 4 ounces at 3:07am on the morning of June 4, 1954. My “lambskin” was spotless with no sins to account for. There were no offsetting good deeds either (or needed). Even though I tipped the scale at over 7 pounds, I’m “in balance” or perfectly calibrated on God’s Scale.
Only God is Perfect Balance. After all, did He not create the Heavens and the Earth in six days, resting on Perfection on the SEVENTH? (Talk about a To-Do List!) Even though I feel like I am “balancing” my to-do list, some of which are good deeds, my wrong doings weigh heavily on my mind. What’s worse is that I can’t calculate a total amount of my sins. I should have been tracking those in my planner. I have not been tracking my good deeds, either. How can I balance out my wrong-doings with good deeds? No need to “worry”, He has my “weight” all balanced out.
Achieving balance in life can be precarious. Our Founding Fathers foresaw that with the creation of our three branches of government. (I won’t weigh-in on that.) Pursuing the right balance (Happiness) in one’s life will help you perceive that you have discovered the best benefits Life has to offer. Isn’t that one of the three “legs” of Freemasonry: Relief? “To soothe the unhappy, to sympathize in their misfortunes, to compassionate their miseries and to restore peace to their troubled minds is the great aim we have in view.” A good tripod, or base of support, is a triad of companions “linked together”. Moreover, the three “legs” of Freemasonry: Brother Love, Relief and Truth, time and time again, should be exercised with Freedom, fervency and zeal. Further, the measured (3×3) “balancing of our faithful breast” in a Chapter of Royal Arch Masons provides us a time-weighted divesture of the vices (short weight) and superfluities (surplus weight) in our lives. Finally, Balancing is an accomplishment, or mental workout, if I may exercise it, of casting all anxieties on Him, because His Scale is sealed with His Love for us.
I’ve assessed that perfect balance by any yardstick is a worthy, but unobtainable aspiration, once my “weight” began to tip the scale. On the other “pan”, the measurement of a man’s character over time is a “balancing act” that can be calibrated by…
Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 1
In the meantime, I need some hang time with my companions, because I feel a particular sense of “lightness” from……Balance, Companions, 3 times three!
1. Philippians 4:8