We are Brethren
No eminence of station should make us forget that we are Brethren. These words, taken from the installation of a Senior Warden in a subordinate lodge, are true no matter what our station in life, in our lodges, in an appendant body, or even in the Grand Lodge. We are Brethren, all of the same rank, and we should treat each other as such.
When the Grand Master attends an event, all eyes seem to be on him. He and his officers show up wearing their bling and it is only natural, especially for a new Mason, to think that these are important men. The office of Grand Master is certainly important, and it is an honor for anyone who has been lucky enough to serve, but the men who have held that office, in my experience, are just the same as all of the rest of the Brethren, they are Master Masons who love this fraternity. They’ve been selected by their Brethren for greater responsibility, and they put in long, long hours in service to the Craft, but meet them in their home lodge and you’ll find the same sort of good-natured teasing you’d expect of any group of Masons.
Is the Grand Master an important man? Of course. But is he the most important man in the room? Maybe not. Certainly, when there is degree work, the candidate is pretty important. And what about the same new Brother a couple of months later, who wasn’t sure what he was getting into with this Masonic thing, and so far all they’ve done is meet and pay bills. Shouldn’t we consider his experience important? Shouldn’t we be doing all we can to show him what being a Brother is? How about the brand-new officer trying to do the work of the Junior Deacon in his lodge for the first time? Is it right to have several Brethren on the sidelines constantly telling him to change his rod? Or should we consider how important a Mason he is and maybe treat him like a Brother and whisper good counsel in his ear after the meeting is over? How about the Past Master, leaving the East, who had been thrown into an officer chair just after joining and now, finally, he gets to take it easy in lodge and let others run things for a while? Is he welcomed back? Or is he put out to pasture because he’s no more of immediate use to the lodge? Is he made to feel important because of his level of experience? My point is that all of these Brethren are important, all are entitled to our regard, and all should be treated as any Brother would want to be treated.
In my journey to the Grand East, I have seen numerous difficulties arise in lodges around the state. Whether the issue is financial or not, procedural or not, governmental or not, it is always acerbated by Masons not acting like Masons. We love our lodges, but sometimes, especially when there are not many members, that love for a lodge can evolve into a type of ownership of the lodge. When you are forced for several years to make all of the important decisions for a lodge, it’s only natural for that to be your response to everything that comes up before the lodge. But, when only YOU know what’s right for a lodge and you make decisions on behalf of the lodge without any input, much less consensus, from the other members, that’s not Masonic, it’s certainly not promoting peace and harmony, and it always results in damage to the lodge.
I am honored and humbled to serve as your Grand Master and am daunted at the prospect of trying to carry on the office held by so many exceptional men and Masons. All I can do is my best and, with your help, and a lot of help from the Great Architect, I hope to come close to living up to their legacy and your trust.