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
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
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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