As an Entered Apprentice, we learn that a Lodge's supports are the Three Great Pillars: Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty. The lecture states:
"Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty are said to support a Lodge because it is necessary there should be wisdom to contrive, strength to support, and beauty to adorn all great and important undertakings."While I agree these are the Lodge supports, what if we were to redefine and give the pillars further meaning?
A reflection of my time in the Craft, traveling experiences, and exploring more light on my own, I've attributed other things to these three pillars to support a Lodge: Education, Fellowship, and Ritual.
Education - We should always be in pursuit of more light in Masonry. Over and over again, I've seen lodges confer degrees and continue business without spending a bit of time sharing knowledge amongst the Brethren. If we're a fraternity that is taking good men and making them better, how is it happening? It doesn't need to be rigid like a college course; it should be fun and beneficial! Listening to a podcast episode, reading a paper related to a Masonic topic, or just gathering to have a free-flowing discussion about thoughts behind our symbols and ceremonies can invigorate a lodge. This is an opportunity to reach out to our Brothers we haven't seen in a while and keep the new Brothers who are eager to learn more. Education should NEVER be discounted.
Fellowship - We are the world's oldest Fraternity, connecting men of different backgrounds and cultures. Whether inside or outside of the Lodge, there should be an opportunity to build and expand these connections. I don't know about you, but I didn't join to only confer degrees, read minutes, and pay bills. I want to feel genuine relations built with the men around me and the community we live in. Fellowship can take different forms: going out to a pub with Brothers and their families, an intellectual evening exploring the esoteric concepts of the world, rehearsing for degrees, and participating in community events. There are plenty of ways to get the ball rolling. At the end of the day, one should feel comfortable enough to approach someone else without anxiety about how the conversation may go because there's little relationship there.
Ritual - The ceremonies to bring candidates into the Craft are beautiful. We should strive to provide the best to our new brothers. While word-for-word presentations of the ritual are great, it's not about reciting a novel to the new initiate. There should be meaning behind the presentation. Bringing it back to education, it's also essential to understand the ritual and not recite it.
While these are just my own musings on supports of a lodge, I think an honest reflection on these three areas within your Lodge may prompt a discussion on how to adjust how things have always been done to how things could be to make the Masonic experience better.