The events that took place in Washington, DC has the United States shook. Emotions are high, morale is low. Friends are fighting with friends, family with family. Where does a person turn to when they do not know what to believe? Turn off the news, de-activate your Facebook, silence your text messages. Sit in silence and act like nothing is going on in the world? No, that is not the answer. The show must go on, but how?
I found solace on Thursday night. It gave me hope and inspiration. The Scottish Rite uplifted my spirits as I came together virtually with 2,500 brethren as we witnessed the 10th Degree is an unheard-of format. It started off with the playing of “Proud to Be An American”. As the lyrics say
“I thank my lucky stars
To be living here today
'Cause the flag still stands for freedom
And they can't take that away"
We have all witnessed things in our respective countries that cast doubt on our loyalty, but we cannot let single events affect our dedication and service to the country.
The next song was “What a Wonderful World” This song gave me hope for our future. Imagine a world where we speak to each other with respect. Imagine a post-pandemic world where we can shake a friend’s hand and feel the warmth of love. The lyrics say it best:
"I see friends shaking hands
Saying, 'How do you do?'
They're really saying
'I love you'"
The Degree itself was outside the box. It was a ‘radio’ version where the script was read instead of performed on stage. It was phenomenally done. The degree was timely, two groups pitted against each other arguing treason and justice, both believing they are in the right and neither side listening to each other. Sound familiar? Our degrees are still relevant to the modern man.
I particularly liked the verse in the prologue from Daniel 9 Verse 15 “we have sinned, we have done wrong.” How often do we admit that to ourselves? How often are we unwilling to change our opinion even when given new information? Humility and self-reflection would go a long way in today’s climate. Even with all the evil in the world, I will always believe that humans are intrinsically good. We may tick different, but we all want the same thing.
The enthusiasm for the craft, the positive attitudes of the members, and the overall production quality from this virtual event gave me hope that Freemasons will rise to the challenge of adhering to our lofty ideals. We all took the same obligations and listened to the same charges. You first become a Mason in your heart, but you were not raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason until after you had learned the lessons of logic and reason.
Use both your heart and your intellect as you navigate these troubled waters but always remember you are a Mason. That still means something to me and I hope it does to you as well.
WB Christopher J. Hathaway was raised in Catlin Masonic Lodge #285 and is the current Worshipful Master of Bloomington Masonic Lodge #43. He belongs to the Valley of Danville, AASR where he is the Most Wise Master of the George E. Burow Chapter of Rose Croix and Membership Chairman. Other appendant bodies include the Gao Grotto, Mohammed Shriners, and the Illinois Lodge of Research. Outside of the lodge, he enjoys spending time with his wife Taylor and cheering on the Fighting Illini and Chicago Cubs.