Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Traveling to the Chairs

Why do we become Freemasons?

I'm sure that the answer to that question is different for almost any man who joins the Brotherhood. Some come for the Fellowship. Others join the Order to learn about and improve themselves. A few join because of their fathers or grandfathers before them. And some, join to serve.

For whatever reason a man becomes a Freemason, simply being a part of the Great Fraternity will change that man. In whatever way a man participates in Freemasonry, he is a part of something greater than himself...and something noble. In the Order, a man can identify with integrity, virtue and honor.Still, I think that, as in every society, it requires different men to fill the varied and necessary roles of the group.

As each human body must have a heart...and a brain...and a liver...and so on...the organization of Masonry lives because of the contributions of unique and divergent minds and hearts.I know many very fine gentlemen who have sat in the East or in the Warden's chairs. Others aid as ritualists or officers of their lodge. I applaud their work, their dedication and their commitment to the Order.However. The organization of the lodge...the memorization of the proficiencies...this is not the reason for Freemasonry. This is not the Light Itself. It is only part...one part...of the Path.

Dont get me wrong Brothers! I urge you all to work diligently in your lodge. Travel the chairs because, as my friend Tim Couch KCCH reminded me, you will learn much through the experience about yourself as well as the Order.

Still, it is my contention that the organization of the Order is meant to see that the Order may be propogated into the future and its wisdom preserved. Truly, this is indeed a noble purpose and it is absolutely - absolutely - necessary to the survival of the Order. Yet, we cannot allow ourselves to lose the purpose of Freemasonry...for its works.

I'm afraid we Masons often dont see the forest for the trees.

Why do we become Freemasons? I know that I didnt become a Freemason so that I could practice parliamentary procedure. I became a Freemason because I wanted to serve. I wanted to serve a cause greater than myself. I wanted to serve my God, my Family, my Community and my Brothers. I wanted to humble myself after a life of managing others and building businesses for myself. I wanted to give something back.

Surely, sitting in the chairs is a form of service. I agree! So too is working in any capacity of fruitful labor in a ritual, production or otherwise. But each of us must be left to our time and place and encouraged to produce our own true fruits. Jesus said that we may judge a tree by its fruits. And so there are many kinds of trees.

There is much more to Freemasonry than the ritual and the chairs! This is but the skeleton and sinew of the Order. I urge Masons to seek first that Great Light of Freemasonry. If you dont know what I'm talking about or you think I am speaking of vaporous and spurious philosophies then you have settled into the comfortable sense of belonging that a chair offers and forgotten that Path you are Obligated to.

The moment any of us become a Master Mason...we are as 'high' in the Order as we can get. It doesnt matter after that if you are a Worshipful this or that...or if you are a 32* or 33* or Grand Ancient Sovereign Master of the Solar Council...The Master is it.There is greatness to this fact, because it means that when a man, as a Master Mason, truly becomes a full Brother in the Fraternity...then he is simply an Equal.

Freemasonry is a Round Table. And all men who sit at that table share a chair side by side with their Brothers. If this is ever forgotten then the honor of the Order is lost and so too its value.

Liberty! Equality! Fraternity! This is Masonry.

By all means...do what you can to help your Fellows and to aid in the services of your Lodge. But understand that each man walks his own Path...for that Great Light calls to each in his own way. Beyond the general labors of the lodge, the greatest work each Mason can undertake is his own personal journey of discovery. For we are not traveling to the chairs but to the East!

Travel Light Brothers.

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