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Empty chairs in lodge room

by Author Unknown

We are familiar with the game of "Musical Chairs" in which those playing march around a group of chairs, one chair less than the number of players and when the music stops, the person that is unable to find a seat is out of the game. As the game progresses, a chair is removed so that there is always one chair less than the number of players. The winner of the game is the last person to be seated in the remaining chair. The Wrecking Crews of Shrine Temples have dreamed up many versions of it, as well as other groups and organizations.

How different is the game of life and the "Empty Chairs" in our Lodge rooms and Masonic temples,. Instead of not enough chairs for the players, there are not enough players for the chairs. At times this is true even of the officer chairs. This sad fact is not confined to the Lodges with a small membership, many of their members being more faithful in attendance than members in larger Lodges. Of course if all of the membership of any Lodge were to be in attendance at a meeting, there would not be enough chairs for each. This would really be something to see and a pleasure to any Worshipful Master and his officers to be faced with this type of problem.

Recently, while attending a Scottish Rite Society Chapter meeting, it was necessary to set up another table to accomodate all in attendance. The chapter president, being nervous about the small confusion and delay that resulted, started to apologize. We told him that he was to be congratulated. We further advised him that instead, this is considered a sign of a successful meeting regardless of the planned program or even the food that would be served. It is definitely deemed a measure of succes when more tables and chairs are needed to accomodate those present. Often there is an abundance of food, especially when ladies of the O.E.S., Amaranth, or White Shrine are in charge of the dinner.

Many things contribute to the "Empty Chairs" in our Lodges. Pressing business in this modern day and time causes Brethren to want to stay at home and relax at the end of their day in the business world. Many are prevented by health, distance and other obligations from being in attendance. Some are just, shall we say, lazy. Some, we feel, never learned the lessons of seeking more light in Masonry when they receive their degrees. Perhaps this is due to the manner in which the degree was conferred. Others have become disinterested for various reasons.

Attendance at meetings of Lodges can be increased in many ways. Often we hear the expression that "They don't do anything; just the same old open and close and pay the bills." Doesn't this give your Lodge officers an idea? One of the best ways to encourage enthusiasm is through the example set by officers of a Lodge; not only in their prompt attendance, but by good (creditable) performance in their stations and places. The officers should also know their duties and work in the degrees, performing their functions in a dignified and impressive manner so that the beautiful lessons of our beloved Fraternity are fully exemplified and taught to the candidates.

Many Brethren sitting on the sidelines have never heard the complete sections of the degrees given. Recently it was my pleassure to hear the second and third sections of the Master Mason degree given perfectly in a most profound manner to three newly raised Master Masons. As often as this writer has heard them and even given them myself in the past, I was duly impressed and considered my time well spent by being present for the lectures as well as the degrees.

If degree work is not scheduled, we suggest that you plan your meeting so that there is something of interest for everyone. A short talk on the Constitution and Code, our Masonic law, would be informative and interesting to many of the members, especially new Brethren.

Also, short talks on subjects that are not associated with Masonry. How about sports, current legislation, schools, programs, of civic clubs and other fraternal organizations, films on recreation and related subjects, unique businesses. The list is unlimited if you really search. State agencies have speakers and films available on nearly everything.

Do the unusual and watch the results. We can fill those "Empty Chairs" if we really try. Always plan so that there is no conflict with Masonic laws and customs in doing the unusual.

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Last modified: March 22, 2014