The daily prompt today from Rag-tag Community Daily Prompt is the word THREE.
How applicable this word is to Odd Fellowship!
Three links, three degrees, three words to live by..
Friendship Love & Truth.
Are they just words? Is it just something we tell people when they ask about our Order? Are our degrees just something to get through so we can hold an office and vote in elections? Do we see holding an office as power or service? Do officers go out of their way to make sure that every member feels like a valued part of our family?
Do we truly listen and absorb the words of the degree work? Do we study them and make them part of who we are?
I will confess .. I didn’t.. when I was a new Odd Fellow, I was just trying to figure out what the heck was going on in meetings! I saw it as being a member of a club, not, as it should be, a way of life. This is my tenth year as an Odd Fellow, and I think I’m finally starting to get it!
One of my goals for 2019, for our lodge, is a series of classes for members on the degrees. Louis Sarmiento wrote a beautiful analysis upon completing the degrees a few years ago that is the perfect starting point.
Odd Fellows’ Code of Ethics
By Louie Blake Sarmiento
Odd Fellows believe in a Supreme Being, the Creator and Preserver of the Universe. They base their thoughts and actions on healthy philosophical principles. They know that life on earth is temporary. They are aware of the vanity of earthly things, the frailty and inevitable decay of human life and the fact that wealth has no power to stop the sureness of eventual death. They start by asking the question, “How am I going to live my life?” Then, they work towards the improvement and elevation of their character; to fight against their human weaknesses and to live responsibly.
Odd Fellows are advocates of genuine FRIENDSHIP, the strongest bond of fraternity which teaches goodwill and harmony. They never look at people with prejudiced eyes nor base their judgment on outward appearances. They support the idea that all people regardless of race, gender, nationality, religion, political affiliation, social status, rank and station in life are brothers and sisters. They do not take an undue advantage of their power or the weaknesses of those around them. They are humble in a way that they never boast about their ‘self’. They know and accept their individual strengths and weaknesses and keep away from badmouthing people and making unreasonable allegations. In this way, they promise never to slander a brother or sister but will defend his or her well-being, advise him or her for his or her best, and will help his or her family in times of need.
Odd Fellows are enactors of LOVE, the basis for all life’s ambitions, service to others and family. They work for goodwill between humankind, understanding between classes of the community and peace between nations. They fight against selfishness, the natural human weakness which hampers the will to do what is good. They feel jointly responsible for their fellowmen and prepared to give attention and help wherever and whenever help is needed. They know the application of sympathy, sincerity, unselfishness, and generosity. They accept the fact that nothing is perfect but believe that they have an obligation to contribute in making the world a better place to live.
Odd Fellows are pursuers of TRUTH, the standard by which we value people and the foundation of our fraternity. They adhere to equality, justice and righteousness. They are honest not just in words but also through deeds and actions. They will never defraud their Lodge, but will prevent unlawful use of its funds and property, and at every occasion to promote its welfare. They see searching for the truth as searching for clarity in the sense of their individual lives. Oftentimes, they think before they speak and act. They know that before they start doing something, they can make the choice what to do and can think it over and consider whether the choice was the right one. They believe that making good and well-considered choices is called “behaving in a responsible way”.
Doesn’t that just make you stop and think? Wow! Maybe it’s a bit of a utopian ideal.. I know I’ve caused my share of hurt feelings with my Lodge brothers and sisters. Had my own hurt countless times. Forgiven countless times. But still we love. Still we forgive. Still we strive for the ideals that Odd Fellowship stands for.
To elevate the character of mankind.
Well.. I reckon that’s all the thoughts I have on the word “three” .. y’all have a wonderful day!
In Friendship Love and Truth, Nancy Beth Weaver