The other night, the Master of a Lodge decided to go around the room and have the members who braved the icy roads introduce themselves and tell the others a bit about themselves. I suppose such an exercise has some benefits, though it gets a little embarrassing going “I” and “me” an awful lot. Then he went around the Lodge room again and asked everyone for their favourite or most memorable Masonic moment.
Naturally, the two may not be the same thing. For one Entered Apprentice in the room, they were, as he really only had the night of his initiation to talk about. Some of my own memorable moments are not particularly favourite ones—it isn’t easy handing in the warrant of your Lodge as Worshipful Master, for example. But I chose one about a visit I had made with members of the Lodge to another jurisdiction when I was a young member in another Lodge, and something kind of amusing involving some brothers who have since departed to the Grand Lodge Above.
What was interesting is a number of the Masons in the room who had been members for a long time gave the same kind of thing as a favourite moment—namely, visiting other Lodges and meeting other Masons who they never would have met under any other circumstances.
One of the joys of belonging to a fraternity like Freemasonry is the instant friendship someone can have with total strangers, a friendship based on altruism. Masons aren’t members for any material gains they can acquire. Anyone who joins for that reason (if he admits such to an investigation committee) will quickly wonder why he just didn’t become a member of a Chamber of Commerce or business owners’ group where little more is required than paying an annual fee. For Freemasonry is not an organisation designed to make some kind of “contacts.” Its purpose is a greater one.
Conversely, it’s sad when officers rise to give the Toast to the Visitors and admit they’ve never, ever been to another Lodge. They’re missing a real blessing by not meeting others.
Freemasons are supposed to lend encouragement to each other to make them all better human beings. It can’t be done without contact of some kind with one another. Meeting face to face, just getting a friendly smile and a laugh or a hand on the shoulder in sympathy or sorrow if need be, is beyond monetary worth. Each time surely must qualify as a favourite Masonic moment.