Arnold Barker - Born 10th April 1923 - Died peacefully 15th January 2013. Aged 90 years.
Death is a subject which admits of no levity when mentioned by mortal man. The young may die, the old must die, and the wisest knoweth not how soon.
None can escape that inexorable doom. The youngest entered apprentice upon the chequered pavement below dwells ever in the shadow of death; while the invisible hand extends equally over King Solomon on his ivory throne. We walk upon the ashes of generations who have gone the way before us, to which our ashes must in turn contribute, and our bodies crumble into dust. The very air we breathe is but the sighing of spirits once mortal, now clothed in immortality. It is not for any of us to hope to escape the common doom of man.
But for some, we may think that it is through the gate of death that we enter into a place of refreshment and rest, and receive the rewards of our labours. After the strong hand of death has levelled all in the humiliation of the grave, the Almighty hand of the Supreme Master will prevail, and exalt every Brother to the glorious companionship of that undisolving fellowship.
There the designs upon the trestle board will be seen completed. There the adoration of the twelfth hour will be the everlasting joy. There the noontide of bliss will eternally shine. And there the scales of doubt and darkness will fall from our eyes, and the wise purposes of the Divine Architect will be displayed in all their splendour. With this light of faith beaming upon me, I can say "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?"
We walk upon the ashes of generations who have gone the way before us, to which our ashes must in turn contribute, and our bodies crumble into dust. The very air we breathe is but the sighing of spirits once mortal, now clothed in immortality. It is not for us to hope to escape that end, but each has drawn a record and laid a memory upon those whom they have touched in life.
For some, their hope will rest in that Higher Lodge to which we all are advancing.
For others it is enough to draw that record, and lay that memory. To know that lives were touched by actions and that the story is written, and though the words will be buried there, they live on in our memories and in the generations that follow.