Freemasons have their own vernacular, a special vo- cabulary as it were, to describe concepts and certain ac- tions within the Fraternity. We speak of things like “
approaching the East,” “answering the alarm and reporting the
cause,” “going through the chairs,” and how
things were “during my year” to name just a
few. None is more mystifying to me or laden
with such dual meanings as the term “going
dark” to describe the cessation of activities, often during the summer months.
I write these words as the summer season is
right around the corner and the first blast of
heat and humidity portend what lies ahead.
Many afternoons the sky darkens ominously
and peals of thunder and flashes of lightning
precede the torrential downpours that wash
away the dirt and grime of the day. Thereafter at twilight, the streets are steamy and fireflies are busy
twinkling in the gathering dusk. School’s out and barefooted
youngsters along with their parents breathe a sigh of relief
from homework, dance practice, book reports, and getting up
early. Things tend to slow down a bit and Gershwin’s words,
“summertime and the living is easy,” are more than appropriate.
It is at this time that many Masonic and civic groups cease
activity—“go dark,” so to say, until the fall is upon us. We have
found that in some quarters it is hard to maintain a program or
meeting schedule with so many families on vacation or other wise
engaged and out of their usual
routine. Other groups soldier on,
meeting throughout the summer,
often with barely enough members to open and close much less
to engage in meaningful activity.
And so, we “go dark.” A wise decision for many.
I have used the term nonchalantly just as everyone else,
assuming that Freemasons everywhere will know my meaning. Yet the term is susceptible to several shades of meaning.
Simply, and in one sense, “going dark” could mean not turning on the lights for a while—thus, darkness. But I would
argue that an absence of light should never be excused for
an absence of Light. (That’s the one with the big “L.”) For
as Freemasons, we never abandon our obligations or duty to
care for one another. Nor do we detour from our quest for
more Light in Freemasonry. So during those months while
we are dark, let us guard against being Dark. (That’s the
one with the big “D.”)
Is a good brother in the hospital or sweating the call with the
biopsy result? Bring the Light.
Is a member of the Lodge standing under a green canopy at
a cemetery bidding farewell to a life’s companion? Let him not
stand alone. Bring the Light.
Did the mail bring a graduation invitation
from a brother’s child celebrating a milestone in
the life of that family? Share their joy and celebrate that you are valued as friend and brother.
Bring the Light.
Master Craftsman’s introductory course can
easily be completed in the course of the summer
months. What about a small study group from
the Lodge or the Valley? Bring the Light.
Is there maintenance at the Lodge or Scottish Rite that a Saturday morning work party
could accomplish with a lunch thereafter at the
usual gathering place? (You know the one.) Bring the Light.
Ever thought about “going through the chairs” as they say?
What a better time to prepare one’s self ritually and esoterically than during the summer and to “enter the line” with the
coming of fall. Bring the Light.
The summer wears on. Although we may be dark, may we
always take the opportunity to be Light to each other and to
our vows. Freemasonry is more than membership in an organization. It is, or should be, a way of life, an adherence to a professed moral code as evidenced in the obligations we assumed
and the degrees through which
we pass. Those obligations and
degrees compel us to be ever
ready to reach out to our brothers and their families in their
times of need and equally so in
their times of joy. We do so knowing that we are surrounded
and supported by like-minded men who have joined with us
in fraternity and community of spirit. It is in token of that belief, that we instruct all candidates at the very beginning of
their Masonic journey:
In the Beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void;
And darkness was upon the face of the deep.
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
And God said, “Let there be Light”:
And there was Light.
Ronald A. Seale, 33°
We are surrounded and supported by like-
minded men who have joined with us in
fraternity and community of spirit.
LET THERE BE