The Running of the Chairs
How often have you looked up at the East and saw a leader sitting there during a closed meeting? Were there any great acts of charity derived from the mind of the man wearing the hat? What campaigns of public recognition for the good of the order did he orchestrate? Did he even get all of the words right to open and close the lodge?
What about the occupied seats in the west and south? How much assistance were they in the great plans of their Worshipful Master? Do you know what their game plan is when they sit in the east?
Or, Are They Running Through the Chairs.
It is funny how certain little sayings can catch on in Freemasonry. An active Mason as opposed to regular mason and running through the chairs.
The Worshipful Master is an elected official, much like the President of a club. His job is to run the organization under his jurisdiction in a timely and orderly manner. In a time when membership is declining, encouragement of active attendance by its members is a known prerequisite. For without members attending, he will sit in a building by himself. Committees can not be assigned and acts of great kindness can not be performed without a positive body of Masons to conduct them. Leaders are always hard pressed to pull their members into the lodge and a great many talks are given about the subject. But how many Masters follow through and put in the work? Many of great leaders are often remembered long
after they have done their job and others can be hard pressed to fill those shoes, or in this case “fill that hat”.
As an officer of the Lodge did you have a number of plans you wanted to enact, but by the time you got to the east, the steam in your engine had run out? Did your plans include two or more others for you to rely on and just couldn’t get started for a lack of teamwork? There are many of well-laid plans that have fallen apart due to one small unforeseeable flaw. Ask Napoleon or General Custard. And many of the work done by a leader goes unnoticed and unaided as others reap the rewards of his labors. Sometimes it is easier to go through the motions unnoticed and get through the year without a hitch. As long as there were no problems, then there’s no blame. Right?
Wrong. Have you ever opened and closed a lodge quickly in order to get to some private business and had a visitor attend? Did you ever see him after that meeting? You make sure to cover all of the business at hand and follow the letter of the constitutions, but with the lack of interaction and new discussions, a less amount of members attend the next time. You probably sat in the west thinking “When I get over there, I’m going to do things differently.” Now that you are here, what are you doing?
Senior and Junior Wardens are often included in a subject together. They are for all intents and purposes, co-vice presidents of our restrictive club. They have to be on call in case the Worshipful Master is unable to attend his duties. They are to supply assistance at all times and you don’t need to be both before assuming the roll of Worshipful Masters themselves. Their workload is usually lighter, but their plans are much greater. But how much help do they often supply?
Someone once said, there are only three degrees in Masonry and, as they say in the Louisiana, the rest is just lagniappe. A Mason meets on the level, without concern for money matters or station. Three people are chosen to sit in the officers’ chairs and in many Lodges, are adorn with jewels and fancy aprons of office. Proud as a peacock they should be of the honor bestowed upon them, but remember underneath the regalia is a man who is only a Mason. All Masons are taught from the beginning to ever act and walk upright in their journeys through life and to serve masonry through charity and selflessness. Whether, that
charity is monetary in nature or time committed to hold a station in Lodge, you, like any elected officials are a servant to the people. Though the meaning of “servant to the people” has lost a lot in America over time, Masonry teaches this lesson over and over again.
Most Worshipful, General George Washington was the father of our country, Grand Master of American Masonry and the first President of Our Country. During the creation of our country’s constitution, many questions arose about the office of the Leader of the United States of America. Should there be term limits, an official title and long term benefits, amongst other things. A structure was formed out of their discussions to allow one person to take time out of his normal life to serve the people as a temporary leader. Much of this is reflected on the structure of the Worshipful Master’s station. To take time out of his busy schedule to serve his lodge and aid in the longevity of Freemasonry.
How many brothers have longed to wear the Past Masters apron? Was it required to be able to join a certain group of the Shrine or other organizations? Did it feel good to say “I’m Past Master of *** Lodge”? Did you enjoy wearing the formal regalia of an Officer? Does it now bring you above the level of a regular Master Mason? Does being a 32nd degree Mason carry more weight than a 3rd degree? Does PM look better at the end of a name rather than the name itself? Many brothers look up to Past Masters and Grand Officers, but shouldn’t be for their leadership qualities rather than their titles?
I hope that many Worshipful Masters that read this essay can smile about the fact that they did as good a job as they could. As for the others that feel offended by my writings, think about what you are doing and what you have done.
There were many questions asked and no answers were given. If you look into yourself, you should find the answers. For, are you serving masonry to the best of your abilities or
Are You Just Running Through The Chairs……