From the Grand Master ... December, 2020
Freemasonry has long been a beacon of universal tolerance, or I should say, universal respect, since tolerance is an Enlightenment term and today we would choose to say acceptance, inclusion or respect. From time to time we are moved to re-examine how we practice these tenets, and the language that
The Ritual Committee is the only body authorized to make any alterations in our
Ritual, and they take it extremely seriously, balancing any changes against the landmarks and considering the practice of other Grand Lodges, most notably those of our brethren in England, Scotland and Ireland.
A task force of members from a variety of faith traditions convened by the Grand Chaplain at my request last year looked at some aspects of our Ritual from a theological standpoint. The Ritual Committee weighed their suggestions as well as other considerations and made some changes which will be included in the Book of the Work when it is reprinted.
The current understanding of most faiths is of a Supreme Being that is forgiving rather than vengeful. Therefore the second question asked of the candidate will be changed to “prefers virtue over vice.”
All references to “Freeborn” and “Free by Birth” will be removed.
So we will say “By being a man, of mature age, and under......” and “Pass Man of G.R.”
And lastly, we will bring our Ritual in line with the stories of the Abrahamic traditions by removing the word “only” so the sentence reads “....in not refusing to offer up his son Isaac...”. (That patriarch had two sons, Ishmael and Isaac.)
The specific details will be forthcoming in the new Book of the Work.
This is the time of the year during which brethren of so many traditions hold
celebrations which involve lights – Diwali, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa to name just a few.
As we ponder the prospect of a socially distanced holiday season let us try to lighten the darkness however we can. Take a walk or drive to see the Christmas lights. Put up a Kinara, or just light some candles. Practice gratefulness. Be open to the experiences that a slowed pace can reveal.
Consider the inner light at the heart of all the festivals. Call your friends and brothers to lighten their day. And keep safe with your loved ones.
Eternal Light, shine into our hearts;
Eternal Goodness, deliver us from evil;
Eternal Power, be our support;
Eternal Wisdom, scatter the darkness of our ignorance:
That we may seek Your face With all our heart and mind and soul and
- Alcuin of York, 8th Century
Jill and I wish you many blessings and a meaningful holyday season.
David J. Cameron