There Are No Strangers
by Midnight Freemasons Contributor
Steve Harrison, PM, FMLR
It could have been any town, anywhere. Where it was doesn’t matter. It was just a new town to me, interesting but unfamiliar. On Saturday, my wife, Carolyn, and I drove around this new place. Among other things, we discovered a beautiful, ornate church. We decided to attend the next morning.
The following day we put on, as they say, our Sunday finest and headed for the church. It was a wonderful old building, made of limestone with carvings and gizmos everywhere. We stayed outside for a while, walked around it, admired it.
Inside, everything was new to us, but somehow familiar, comfortable. The greeters were quick to recognize us as visitors and just as quick to welcome us as if we were old friends. We shook hands, talked and smiled. They walked us down the hall and into the sanctuary. As I entered, a colossal pipe organ, too large, too magnificent for this small, unfamiliar town filled my field of vision. The breathtaking organ gazed down upon old elaborate pews. On top of everything else, the sanctuary was filled with Christmas decorations. Garland hung from the rafters. Stars twinkled. A manger flanked a huge over-decorated Christmas tree.
This was a House of God.
Carolyn and I slid into our seats. We shared more smiles and handshakes with people around us.
The choir boomed, announcing the start of the service. We sang. We prayed. We greeted each other. We listened. In a quiet moment, I sat back and simply admired the place.
Suddenly, while I was soaking it all in, I felt something hit my right shoulder. I looked aside and out of the corner of my eye I saw a hand. I moved back for a better view and saw the hand was holding a piece of paper. I took the paper, opened it and read.
“I saw the square and compasses on your lapel…”
He told me his name, his wife’s name, his Lodge, the offices he had held. I had his entire Masonic CV scribbled on the note in front of me. At the end he asked, “What about you?”
On the back of the note I told him all about me, my wife was named Carolyn, my Lodge, I was in the officers’ line, I knew the “Letter G” and Second Degree Charge. I handed the note back to him.
In a few minutes, here it came again. Did I know so-and-so? Why were we in town? I answered his questions and asked a little bit about him.
There we sat, two grown men, in this magnificent House of God, in this inspiring service, passing notes like a couple of grade school kids – and becoming friends, all because of a simple square and compasses pin and the bond, the brotherhood it signified. When you are a Mason, in the company of Masons, there are no strangers.
Steve Harrison, 32° KCCH, is a Past Master of Liberty Lodge #31, Liberty, Missouri. He is the editor of the Missouri Freemason magazine, author of the book Freemasonry Crosses the Mississippi, a Fellow of the Missouri Lodge of Research and also its Senior Warden. He is a dual member of Kearney Lodge #311, St. Joseph Missouri Valley of the Scottish Rite, Liberty York Rite, Moila Shrine and is a member of the DeMolay Legion of Honor.