Brethren, as I write this, the world as we know it is falling apart. Supermarkets are stripped bare. People are panicking due to fear of the unknown. My Grand Lodge here in Illinois, along with a lot of other jurisdictions, are suspending stated meetings and other lodge events for a few weeks (possibly months).
We are witnessing history. We need to be a part of it. All of us once asked for light. It's time for our light to shine.
Our principles have helped guide our Masonic forefathers through other dark times in history. In the United States and around the globe, our fraternity has survived. Many events that threatened to snuff our light out have failed. Our tenets of Brotherly love, relief, and truth have enabled us to survive.
Now more than ever, we need to remember these 3 tenets.
Although we can't have stated meetings together, we need to remember the tenet of Brotherly Love and make sure that we are not only checking in on each other but our widows and orphans. We can still enjoy Masonic education and fellowship together via skype calls and other methods. Most importantly, we need to remember that Brotherly Love extends not only to our Brothers but to all of our fellow creatures, which brings me to my next point.
We are obligated to come to the aid and relief of not only our brothers and their families that are in need, but we also are taught that we need to act charitably to society, giving as much of ourselves as we can to better the common good. The coming days are going to challenging for all of us.
What we are witnessing is unprecedented in most of our lifetimes. Very few of us have seen something similar. It is at times like these that we need to remember our tenet of relief. Not only to ourselves but to our communities. We need to remember that of Faith, Hope, and Charity, the greatest of those is Charity.
We will need to set an example for those that need it. Whether it is by volunteering to deliver groceries for those in your community that cannot get them, giving a roll of toilet paper to a neighbor that needs it, or using our monetary resources to help those brothers and non-brothers alike in our community--we can use this crisis as an opportunity to show what our fraternity stands for. We need to lead by example. I believe that if we do this, that if we are a shining light for others in this time of darkness, that we will be living up to our tenet of relief. As we suffer for membership, we can show the men in our local community what we are all about. To paraphrase that quote from Field of Dreams, "If you build it, they will come."
Truth, which is represented by the divine Truth of the Great Architect of the Universe, is going to be an essential tenet to follow in the coming days. If you are ill, be truthful and stay home even if you think that this will hurt you financially. It is at this time that you will need to reach out to your Lodge and Grand Lodge for assistance. Do not hesitate to use the sign of distress we are taught. If you are not ill, be sure to remain true to yourself, family, and your dealings with others. As I stated above, be a genuine person in your transactions with your fellow creatures. You are representing the fraternity, and how you act during this crisis will be remembered. Remain truthful to our teachings, and they will help see you through this.
It's up to all of us.
Every single one of us has a role to play in this. I believe though that we are uniquely equipped as men to rise to this challenge.
There is a line in the 3rd degree that I especially love, and I try to remember when faced with a challenge.
The line is: "Well, we have truth and justice on our side, let us rush in!" Remember that we do have truth and justice on our side. I would only add, before rushing in, we remember to invoke the blessing of deity first. This is hopefully the only great undertaking that we as Freemasons will ever have to face in our lifetimes. Remember that our light is part of the light of the divine truth of the Great Architect of the Universe. Stay safe, brothers. Remember our teachings, follow them, and continue to let our light shine for all to see.
WB Darin A. Lahners is the Worshipful Master of St. Joseph Lodge No.970 in St. Joseph and a plural member of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), and Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL). He’s a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Danville, a charter member of the new Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter No. 282, and is the current Secretary of the Illini High Twelve Club No. 768 in Champaign – Urbana (IL). He is also a member of the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.