Wednesday, January 8, 2014

From The Beginning…

I have seen many degree conferrals since becoming a Mason and I have even filled in as an officer on a few occasions in the past but last night was a little different. This time through, for the first time, I watched as two brothers receive their second degree and one man become a Mason from the perspective of and elected officer. While all brothers should take ownership and pride in the conferral of degrees and witnessing the journey that is taking place before their eyes, that feeling is magnified when you play a role in that process, no matter how small that role may be.

Given all the members that pay dues, many of which live close by, I am constantly surprised by the low turnout both at stated meetings and extra meetings as well when we can be witnesses to the same process that we all have gone through. I recently came across a question which asked whether someone can truly call themselves a Mason if they never attend or participate in lodge activities. While there is no clear cut answer to this query, my perspective on the subject is rather simple.

A man becomes a Mason as soon as he receives his first degree and, as an Entered Apprentice, he is then granted all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of that degree. At that point he is a man who has become a Mason. Later he receives his Fellowcraft degree and raised to the degree of Master Mason (3rd) and that is when we sometimes lose a few due to misdirection. While many Masons attend stated meetings every month, for most that is the extent of their Masonic experience.

That is really only a fraction of the Masonic experience. In my experience, it is the times beyond the stated meeting that make up what it is to be a Mason. First of all you are always a Mason not just during meetings so being familiar with the craft both in knowledge and action so you can favorably represent the fraternity is critical. Secondly, and on which the first point relies, being a part of the lodge in some way is essential to the pursuit of light and knowledge of the craft as well as the formation of bonds with your brothers. What better way to both remind yourself of that pursuit but also form bonds with new brothers than to be there to greet them at the beginning of their journey.   

These are times that are separate from the rest of the day. While, as I have previously mentioned, there were certainly a lot going on that day, this was one of the rare opportunities to take a break from all of that and focus on what is happening right in from of me. From the opening to the closing charge, it is a window of appreciating the present and a moment that you know is both greater than yourself but also a memory that will live on in the minds of others as well as your own.