Monday, April 21, 2008

21st Century Freemason

Who is this new guy walking around the lodge without a tie and sporting faded jeans and tennis shoes? He's a bit cocky and, at the very least, he certainly thinks he knows a good bit more than the older, more distinguished, gentlemen in the lodge. After all, he learned most of the secrets of the Order, or so he thinks, before he even took the Obligation of an Entered Apprentice. He read them on the internet and found them tucked away in the stacks at the local bookstore.

The new guy is young. He's full of life and he earnestly elected to become a Mason because he hoped and still believes there is something secret and of inestimable value there to be discovered. Thus, he spearheads the degree work with a kind of fervor. He digests the proficiency and he shifts into high gear as an active lodge member.

The other, older, men of the lodge take the new guy in with warm secret handshakes. They nod and smile. Those just a decade older smile with a kind of incredulous approval that the new guy has not quite won from them. Those much older men, the ones with the litanies of war stories and fond remembrances, give the new guy the smile of a man who has finally accepted the earmarks of age...and of youth.

It is true that the new guy knows a great deal more than what was once available. His mind is rich with visions of the cosmos, space shuttles and mars rovers that he saw on the evening news. He can Google the secrets of the world on his keyboard and has been chatting with Masons a world away on Myspace.

Still, is this 21st Century Freemason ready to make sense of what he has learned? The old guard awaits the inevitable change. They watch the new guy and hope that he understands the real secrets involved. The older tyler sitting by the door with his antique sword testifies to having lived a good life. Ask him what that means and the secrets are yours.

The future is with the young. This time around, they are the generation of the microchip, the cell phone, blogs, YouTube and Google. Still, the secret lies always in its application and one cannot help but wonder how much the old guard has applied fighting wars and building families, businesses and communities. If the new guy can take one great secret from the order perhaps he should listen to those stories the old tyler has to offer over a cup of coffee. The Fraternal Tradition that the one Brother passes to another is certainly a steady and true guide. But the older man has the wisdom to appreciate it.

Carpe Diem young brothers. The handshakes, the traditions, the philosophies are yours. It is one thing to know them however. And it is quite another thing to earn them. There's a bit of 'Saving Private Ryan' in that. But it's right isnt it? You can't just put the apron on. You earn it...every day.

As the world changes, so the man changes, so the Order changes. But the Light is always Light and the Torch is passed.

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