“Spring shows what God can do with a drab and dirty world.” ― Virgil Kraft
There really are a lot of things that I like about the winter. I love the look of new-fallen snow and the way it clings to barren branches; the way I’m forced to squint as the sun lights it up and appears to be coming from everywhere at the same time. I love how all of the familiar sounds are muffled after a snow fall. I even find a sort of comfort and security in the extra layers of clothing that I wear. In spite of all the bad publicity it receives, I still can see a lot of good in the cold dark days of the winter.
Spring is finally here, however. Though a rodent from the 52nd Masonic District (Punxsutawney, PA is in the 52nd Masonic District of Pennsylvania) may argue the point, spring officially begins with the Vernal Equinox – literally equal night – and marks the date when the days begin to have more light than darkness. Passover, Easter, and numerous other religious observances occur, not coincidentally, near the Equinox as it is symbolic of hope, new life, and new beginnings.
Even the land takes on a new quality. Trees and plants, which appeared to be doing nothing for months (though they were actually quite busy), are beginning to unfold their leaves or poke their heads out from under the ground. Everything around seems to be growing, changing, evolving.
What about your Lodge? What about you?
Think about it. As the winter came on, the Lodge shed its old leadership. The new Masters and Wardens had the winter to become accustomed to their roles. During those dormant months, new ideas had time to form, take root. Now, with the spring, they can begin the metamorphosis from thought to action. As each part of the budding plant has a role to play in seeing it reach its full beauty, so too does each Mason have a duty in helping the Lodge reach its full potential. What can you as an individual Mason do to help? For starters, stop waiting to be asked. Let your Master know you want to lend a hand. It can be something you’re already skilled at or even something you would be willing to learn for the benefit of the Lodge.
Next to getting Lodges out of the well worn ruts of old traditions, the hardest thing for a Master to do is find bodies to see projects through. I have seen more than one Master who had great ideas and plans that he couldn’t complete because there were not enough people to help him. Lodges are a lot smaller than they were thirty years ago. In many cases, they are half the size, so that problem will get worse before it gets better. So raise your hand. Better yet, lend it.
I challenge the Lodges to reinvent themselves this year. Discard the things that don’t work. Seek to be more involved in your community. If we seek only to take care of what’s inside these walls, no one on the outside will care if we survive. Conversely, if we become a presence in our communities, there will be men in those communities who seek a presence among us.
Brethren, I ask each of you to do one new thing for your Lodge this year. You can choose what it is, but it should be something you haven’t done before. Ask to be on an investigating committee, cook one of the meals, do the audit, or even – gasp – try something new. If you have an idea, present it to the Lodge. The best way to do that is start with a sentence like, “I’d like your permission to organize a . . . ,” rather than, “Worshipful Master, you should organize a . . .” I don’t think I need to explain why.
Masters and Officers, as spring shows what God can do with a drab and dirty world, let it also show what you can do with a sleepy and stagnant Lodge. Stir it up. Shake the snow off of its branches and work to make it bloom into something that both brightens the community and feeds the souls of its members at the same time. Most of all, work so that years from now, when the members look at your picture on the wall of Past Masters, they think, “You know, that was a great year for our Lodge.”
So mote it be.