Saturday, October 3, 2015

Arriving And Departing

Reenactment of a 1857 Masonic Funeral Service
by Jordan-Martin Lodge No. 673  in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
I was a little pressed for time as I arrived at the lodge on Thursday night. Everything was ready for the meeting, and had been ready for a few days, but other commitments and, of course, traffic kept me from having a few minutes to spend some time with the brethren at the dinner table before the meeting. There have been so many other projects, both personal and at the office, that arriving on time and being able to take a breath have been luxuries that have eluded me for much of the year. So why should this meeting be any different.

As I sorted through the pile that I had dumped on my desk, it was nice to see that dues were already coming in as well as a few correspondences from the brethren. These are the two kinds of mail that I actually look forward to receiving so that I can update the ledger and also have some words to share with the brethren at the meeting along with the usual business items. Actually, the only thing that would be better is when I receive a new petition to be read… it has been way too long since I read one during a meeting.

The rest of the meeting was both a continuation of the program from last month by providing some additional information about other appendant bodies and also a new slate of lessons for the new brethren and reminders for the longer standing members. It was interesting to hear about some of the experiences that various brothers have had visiting other lodges in different districts, jurisdictions, and countries. Some of the processes may vary but there are many that are closely tied together which makes the examination process of a visitor an interesting topic of discussion.

The other discussion that we had was on the Masonic funeral and memorial services. While these are open to the public, I have yet to witness let alone participate in either beyond handling some of the preparations required beforehand. This was a hugely important lesson as it is a means to pay respect to a brother who has been called off from labor. It also reminded me to update my form so that if I should pass, my family knows who to contact to arrange for the service… I have seen too many deaths go unnoticed in the lodge because we were never notified having to discover their passing during an annual membership audit.

All of these programs were reviews of information that most of us already know. However, there are some new brothers unfamiliar with these aspects of Freemasonry and the rest of us were definitely due for a reminder. Like many things in the fraternity, we possess the knowledge somewhere in our minds but it is always a good idea to reexamine some of those topics and rituals. We are bound to forget certain details and there is always the possibility of learning something new whether it be the proper way of doing something, the meaning behind it, or simply a different perspective from another brother. After all, we can never know it all and, without practice, we tend to lose what we once learned.