In Minnesota, we follow the Ancient Landmarks of Freemasonry which have been codified in our Grand Lodge regulations of which one of them is the right to travel. (“That to visit Masonicly is an inherent right of Masons, but no visitor shall be received into a Lodge if any member present objects.” §C2.03(8)) I have always been of the opinion that our Craft arose from the cathedral builders of Europe and the secret traditions that they carried from city to city as they traveled to find work. Our ancient brethren who practiced both operative and speculative Masonry needed this right to find work. These Fellow Craft Masons were cared for by their brothers and given a chance to practice their Craft in any place they found themselves.
I can only imagine the welcome that these brothers would receive in places that spoke different dialects or languages yet carried the same secret knowledge that allowed them to be received as brothers. Sadly, this tradition has become rather forgotten in many places of my state and many Grand Lodge jurisdictions throughout the world. The desire to travel has now become the province of Grand Lodge officers and maybe few adventurous souls. Therefore, I propose a challenge: get out and shake some hands.
In this fast moving age of information, we have the tools to find Lodges located in nearly all Grand Lodge jurisdictions on this planet. The only major challenge is the willingness to leave the comfortable confines of a brother’s Mother Lodge. Yes, it is true; it’s really cozy in the Lodge Room and yes, there is nothing better than snuggling into one of those sideline chairs, listening to the calming humdrum of Lodge life, ultimately leading down the dimly lit cave to Morpheus’ ebony bed. Zzzzz… Hrmph… Sorry, I drifted off there thinking about it. We cannot fall into the trap of thinking that the only Masonic life that we have is our local Mother Lodge, Appendant Body, or Shrine Club. We can and should join the greater Masonic world.
The Masonic world is huge. My Grand Lodge sent a contingent of brothers to Cuba to meet brothers in that country for fellowship and humanitarian relief. We have made an unbreakable connection with those brothers because of this visit. At the MN Grand Lodge Annual Communication, we got to hear the proposed recognition of different Grand Lodges in other parts of the world. I have never been to Mexico, nor have I been to any of the other places that my Grand Lodge has recognized yet I felt closer to those countries than I could have ever been before. I have been truly fortunate to have visited Lodges near me and it has been a treat. I have always been received warmly. I have also been fortunate to have brothers from other Lodges visit my Lodge.
Here is my proposal for all Masonic Officers: create a Masonic Ambassador program. It’s our duty to make friends with the officers of the other Lodges in our jurisdiction and abroad. We can absorb their ideas and take their advice and put it into practice. If a Lodge meets on the same day as yours, create a Lodge Exchange program where half of the brothers of one Lodge visit a different Lodge and vice versa. Promoting inter-Lodge fellowship can promote the exchange of ideas and, in my opinion, lead to the improvement of the overall Masonic experience of everyone.
Even if we cannot meet brothers in physical Lodges due to distances, it is still possible to meet brothers through the “magic” of Internet (I’ve heard that it involves spells cast by the Google guys.). I am a blogger, and through my experiences writing my own site, I have made many new friends that I probably would have never made otherwise. Facebook and Myspace, or in other parts of the world, Bebo or Orkut, has aided in helping brothers meet. There is even a Masonic social networking site called Masonic Planet dedicated to bringing Freemasons and OES members together. We now have the tools to connect to any brother in the world. Even if we can’t extend our hand physically to another brother online, we can still extend our figurative hand and make those meaningful connections.
This paper represents my shaking of the hands of the brothers of “A Partir Pedra” and I want to thank them for this opportunity. Our world is getting smaller. The universal aspects of Freemasonry give us an edge over many other organizations in promoting global perspectives. We are not a national organization but an international movement to promote the brotherhood of man under the fatherhood of G-d.