Recently, I’ve been lucky enough to sit as Senior Warden for a number of Entered Apprentice degrees. Of course, as often happens, my mind starts to wander during the “downtime” of the station, and I found myself considering the truly magnificent role the Senior Warden plays, that we usually take for granted.
At a relatively early point in the degree, the Senior Warden teaches the candidate, who is not yet a Mason, the proper way to approach Masonry. This lesson is often glossed over, as immediately after the man takes the first obligation and becomes a brother, however there are infinite depths that can be explored from this very short, simple teaching.
The Senior Warden is responsible for helping the candidate take his first step in Masonry. What a powerful moment, when we are reminded of how Masonry should be taught: an experienced, established brother guiding an inexperienced one, by example and by allegory.
The candidate is taught (and we are reminded) of the importance of walking and standing uprightly. This lesson is repeated over and over throughout the three degrees, however this is the first time the candidate is exposed to the idea.
The candidate is also taught to take growth slowly, and to only take one step at a time. It is very easy, in our excitement for the teachings of the fraternity, to get ahead of ourselves and try to learn everything at once. Freemasonry, however, is a progressive science, and it is pointless to try to learn the wisdom that we aren’t prepared for. So, for now, just take the one step in front of you.
Finally, we remind the candidate of the importance of acting on the square. Again, this is reemphasized at many different points in the degrees, however as it is one of the most valuable teachings of our institution it cannot be discussed enough.
All of this is taught in just a few sentences, which is a constant reminder to me of the depth of teaching that our ancient ritual writers were able to understand, and that we hope, by a constant application of study, to rediscover.
WB. Bro. Adam Thayer is the Senior Warden of Lancaster Lodge No. 54 in Lincoln (NE) and a past master of Oliver Lodge No. 38 in Seward (NE). He’s an active member in the Knights of Saint Andrew, and on occasion remembers to visit the Scottish and York Rites as well. He continues to be reappointed to the Grand Lodge of Nebraska Education Committee, and serves with fervency and zeal. He is a sub-host on The Whence Came You podcast, and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He will not help you get your whites whiter or your brights brighter, but he does enjoy conversing with brothers from around the world!