A FLASH IN THE PAN
A Message from the Commander in Chief, David W. Morgans, 33°
Many of us have used or have heard that expression before. It actually dates to the late seventeenth century when flintlock muskets were in use.
Its original meaning was quite literal in nature. Flintlock muskets have a small pan on them that hold a small charge of gunpowder. When the trigger is pulled a piece of flint strikes against the metal near the pan causing a spark that ignites the gunpowder. This tiny explosion sends a spark through a small hole at the base of the barrel of the gun where a larger charge of gunpowder has been packed in with wadding and a lead ball on top of it. The resulting explosion sends the bullet out of the barrel of the muzzle and on its way toward the target at which it has been aimed. “A flash in the pan,” therefore, is when the gunpowder in the pan ignites but fails to ignite the powder in the barrel.
Today “a flash in the pan” has taken on a different meaning. Some of its current definitions are as follows.
• A sudden spasmodic effort that accomplishes nothing.
• Something that appears promising but turns out to be disappointing or worthless.
• A project, person, etc. that enjoys only short lived success. Something which disappoints by failing to deliver anything of value, despite a showy beginning.
While “a flash in the pan” is very disappointing, it also requires a lot of work. In the literal sense, the weapon was picked up, it was loaded, it was aimed, and it was fired. All the thought and work that goes into hitting a target was done, only the projectile was not fired. Sometimes this can happen in life too and Scottish Rite Masonry is no exception. This experience can be considered “a flash in the pan” for many. This is not another plea for attendance or giving or participating in the Valley. It is the recognition that some have joined our ranks with purpose and with expectations and instead were left with a sense of wanting more, “a flash in the pan” if you will.
When “a flash in the pan” occurs with a flintlock rifle sometimes a new charge may be put in the pan and the weapon must be re-aimed and re-fired with the desired results. Other times it must have its barrel unloaded, then re-loaded, a new charge must be put in the pan and the weapon must be re-aimed and re-fired with, hopefully, the desired results. Of course this is all predicated on the fact that the person wants to fire the rifle.
When we run into “a flash in the pan” in the Scottish Rite world we have some work to do. We must seek out a way to reload our desire to seek more in Masonry, re-aim, and to pull that trigger again.
There is not one officer that is currently serving the Valley of Pittsburgh that wants any of our members to describe their experience with Scottish Rite Masonry as “a flash in the pan.” If this is your experience, however, seek out any one of the officers or any active member so that we can help you to the target you aimed at when you joined the Scottish Rite of experiencing more in Masonry. That’s why we are here, brothers in arms, all striving to get the most out of our Fraternity.
Each year the Valley of Pittsburgh elects and installs new officers that we may all continue to enjoy and experience the best in Scottish Rite Masonry. Each new officer comes into office with expectations of building upon the successes of past officers in order to make the Valley better for our membership and to reflect positively on our great Fraternity. This year is no exception, none of us want to be “a flash in the pan.” We will be working hard to make sure that we accomplish many good things for the Valley, some may be very visible and others more behind the scenes but all things will be worthwhile and intended for the good of the future of the Valley.
If you are able to join us at any one of the numerous events in the Valley this year we would love to meet you and talk with you about your ideas of making this Valley even better than it is. If not, we would love to hear from you.
The officers are here to serve you and we hope that you will support us in this endeavor by offering your encouragement, your feedback, and your prayers. Let’s not settle for “a flash in the pan” when it comes to Scottish Rite Masonry. Let’s all aim together and get a productive bang out of the Valley as we hit the mark of Brotherly love and affection right in the center. Who knows? Maybe we will be able to start a revolution that will be heard around the Masonic world.