Masonic Etiquette – Part 5
Masonic Etiquette continues… again – alphabetically…
Tonight we will only have time for 2 “E”s – Elections and Emblems
The first, and of utmost importance, is:
Elections ~ Elections to office. What better time to talk about this – with nominations due… We decide as a Brotherhood, who we feel will best represent us, just as in a civic election. For the Lodge, our nominations for offices are made with – respect, honor, and reverence to the Craft… toward whomever we feel… can best carry out the duties of that office, without regard to personality or familiarity.
Elections really fall under Jurisprudence…but make no mistake – it also falls under Masonic Etiquette, due to Decorum – that manner of conducting ourselves appropriately – and ALL else that seeks to preserve harmony in our brotherhood.
It should be an occasion of Solemnity but Joyful as well, WHY? because it advances the Lodge into the future, with great expectation of success. Elections have always been the Province… and the Right of Free Men, to determine the course or direction of their lives. We, as Free and Accepted Masons hold dearly to that right, and take seriously, the election of officers to our Lodge, as to whom can “Best Work and Best Agree” for the betterment of the Lodge itself!
In our elections, the main point at issue in the Lodge… has to do with the advancement of an Officer at the time of the annual elections… or with his appointment, if he is to be an appointed officer.
This custom Must work to the advantage of the Lodge, and does so, only if the officer’s fitness for that office is manifest. Please Understand that There is NO Masonic Rule, Law or Tradition that gives an officer of the Lodge – any officer – a “Right” to be advanced.
While there is no “Advancement by Right”, an officer should not be dropped from the line for frivolous reasons.
However, if an Officer should NOT be advanced, Neither He Nor his friends should take any offense. It is for the good of the order, ONLY. At times, A Brother may be, in some way. unqualified to hold a Masonic Office… for any number of reasons…all of them creditable to himself.
Such a thing could be said of many excellent Masons. They are not cast for Office-Holding, due to – again – any number of reasons… and would, themselves, be far happier, and the Lodge more the gainer, if they use other opportunities for their service. If a Lodge could not drop from the line, any incumbent of proved unfitness, or due to lack of effort, – without engendering ill feelings thereby, it would become necessary to reinstill in its members a clearer conception of our Masonic System, and a better understanding of a greater loyalty to its welfare.
Emblems ~ Very few of us give a lot of thought to the significance… or importance of …the Emblems and Symbols of our craft. Yet there is something in our psyche that generates a sense of pride, pleasure and honor… the moment we see them – in the lodge, or out it the world, especially when worn by another.
Time Honored,… Revered,… they stand for all the qualities that make us –
and all men who have traveled our path – better, stronger, kinder, more compassionate, and more selfless…in a world filled with anger, hatred, selfishness, greed and envy. How indeed, do the Emblems and Symbols of the Craft fall under Masonic Etiquette? Simply because each part or detail belongs to a whole system, and if any part is misused or omitted, it affects the whole.
The Symbolical system itself is absolutely Essential to Freemasonry.
It is the Craft’s ONE method of teaching its principles to its members. Without this method, the teachings are rendered weak. If the method is manipulated, the teachings suffer.
It is of Utmost Importance that each Lodge takes great pains to see that the Emblems and Symbols ~ are of the correct design, well cared for, and are placed in the correct positions.
The Altar, for example, should be in the center of the room, its sides square with the sides of the room. The 3 Great Lights should be placed in the Center of the Altar, and Square and Compasses should never be placed upon the Holy Bible when it is closed. They should be of silver, and in good working order. The great Pillars should be of adequate height to the room, correct design, and placed on the correct sides of the Inner Door. The Pillar bearing the Celestial Globe is always to be at the Candidate’s Right as he enters.
The Ashlars should be on the Master’s platform or on one of its steps, one on either side, with The Perfect Ashlar near the Southeast corner, the Rough Ashlar toward the Northeast.
The Letter “G” should be prominently displayed in the East, and be of a tasteful design, neither gaudy or diminished. The degree appurtenances should be of dignified appearance, correct design, and replaced if they become worn or shabby. Jewels, rods and aprons should be kept in good order, and never suffered to be handled carelessly.
The KEY to Masonic Etiquette concerning Emblems and Symbols is this:
NO man having private opinions or theories of how the Emblems or Symbols should look or be placed, should be permitted to violate the requirements of the Craft. From Antiquity, Freemasonry belongs to ALL men, not one Individual. It is of supreme importance that we all use the Realm of Good Manners – Masonic Etiquette – to revere and adhere to the rules and guidelines set down long before us.
Private opinion cannot be imposed, nor should any individual’s name be engraved, stamped, or embroidered upon, any of the Emblems or Symbols of the lodge including the Altar, Great or Lesser Lights, or Ashlars.
It is the desire and demand of the Order that Exemplification – another “E” – be the rule and guide to Emblems and Symbols. We will be the richer for it.
And my “E” is now……EXIT.
Thank you Worshipful Master!