Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A New Masonic Year Begins in Lancaster

With the passing of summer each year, the masonic fraternity comes back to life after having "gone dark" for the hot months of  July and August.  I don't know why the lodges go dark in the summer, but they always have everywhere I have been active.  Perhaps it has to do with the oppressive heat in the second floor meeting rooms which tend to predominate in midwestern American Craft Masonry.  And I'm not sure where the term "going dark" comes from.  I've heard theories, but like so many things in masonry, they are just that- theories to be tossed about without enough evidence to make much of a definitive statement.
Tonight, I met with my brothers of the Allied Masonic Degrees, a research society dedicated to the preservation of a handful of degrees no longer in general use in the English speaking world.  It was a convivial evening, conducted in the drawing room of our local Lodge.  One of our borthers brought greetings from our brothers in Brazil, where he had recently traveled to address the members of the Order of DeMolay, a Masonic youth group based on the storied heroism of Jaques DeMolay, the last grand master of the Poor Knights of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, the famed Templars.  It was fascinating to hear his narrative of Brazil and her Masons, and the discussion turned rather effortlessly to the fraternity in Mexico, where our brother spent a significant portion of his early life.  I learned much, and to be with friends in such a setting of brotherhood was comforting and uplifting.
Even in this election year, and during the national convention of one of our leading political parties, the brothers observed that longstanding masonic admonition to refrain from arguing about politics and religion at lodge.  The discussions continued for a good hour after the meeting adjourned, and the talk was of plans for benevolence, fellowship, and ritual performance in the various lodges, chapters, and commanderies represented for the ensuing year.  Laughter and good will flowed freely, as they so often do in our fraternity. 

Over the past 27 years, I have fellowshipped with my Masonic Brothers on three continents and all across this great land.  The men with whom I have laughed and learned and served have represented all of the world's great religions, vastly differing political opinions, every social class, and every income and educational level.  We  have come from many nations and represent every color and race.  But by committing ourselves to respect each other and by working together to achieve those goals which are common to all good men, we have been able to maintain friendship in spite of our differences, without demanding that anyone give up his core beliefs to work alongside of us.  (That is unless those core beliefs include intolerance, tyranny, or lack of respect.)  We are committed to stressing that which is common, good, and true; and to respectfully permitting differences of opinion in religion, culture, and politics.

It is not such a bad way to live with one's neighbors, and I am thankful that having passed the darkness of the summer recess, we are together again. 

No comments: