Masonry loves to talk about its legacy. As a fraternity, we have existed for at least three hundred years. Our principal tenants and core beliefs have been espoused around the world and brought about revolutions that brought democracy and equality to the oppressed. We are an organization of compassionate thinkers who desire to see our world made better. We do not permit religion or politics into our lodges and allow all good men to kneel at our altar humbly and reverently and take our obligations. Right? After all this is what we pride ourselves on as a fraternity. I’m sure you’ve heard the taglines “a beautiful (or peculiar) system of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols” or that we seek to “make good men better” or perhaps the newest in these corporate Americanesque slogans “Not just a man, A Mason.” With all these slogans, taglines, and platitudes surely Freemasonry is alive and thriving and progressing humanity upward and forward?
All these words, the platitudes, the analogies, our allegories, our symbols, and yes, our ritual…. Cue the eye roll and ire of the Past Masters… means absolutely nothing if we do not bring these teachings out into the world, or even more so truly practice it in our lodges. How many times have you experienced a “Brother” who was little more than a ring bearer? Sure, he has paid dues for 25 years but has done little else, and the only time you see him is as you drive past the local watering hole. Or the opposite of this, that Past Master that doesn’t understand what the Past in his honorific means and attempts to rule and govern the craft from the Northeast Corner.
For too long Masonry has rested on its laurels. Our knowledge is or should be a collective understanding of both their triumphs and failures that allows us to progress further. The achievements of our dead while mighty can only carry us so far. It is up to each of us, as the next line, to carry the torch forward. It is only by us living the principles of our craft, and constitutions, in the lodge and out of the lodge that we can grow. It is time to rend back the veil and show the community who we are, not through exposing or violating our obligation, but by being actively involved in our communities. Both as lodges, and as individuals. The world needs Friendship, Morality, and Brotherly Love now more than ever. Our nation is as divided, if not more so than at the start of the American Civil War and Masonry is in a unique position to cross those political and religious lines showing pure love for our fellow man, not just masons but all of humanity. But we as individuals must set ourselves apart and commit to participating in our communities, speaking up for what’s right, and helping wherever possible. The surplus and golden era of fraternalism is over, it's time to move forward and stop resting on our history. We have counted ourselves among the greats, but the greats among us have by and large laid down their working tools. We cannot continue to idolize our dead and ignore our future. It’s time to call the Craft back to labor from refreshment and get back into the quarries, which are our communities, where we can draw new stones to be perfected.
Bro. Arthur Jefferson III was Entered on April 7th, 2021, Passed on November 10th, 2021, and Raised to the Sublime Degree on the 2nd of March 2022. He currently serves as the Senior Master of Ceremonies for Wallkill Lodge No. 627 under the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New York. He also serves on the District Deputy Grand Masters Team for the Orange Rockland Sullivan District and represents the Battle Within Foundation which helps to fight veteran suicide. Bro. Arthur Jefferson III is an Army veteran having served two overseas tours one in Germany and one in Poland and is a Volunteer Firefighter with the Walden Fire Department.