Sunday, July 11, 2010

More Light!

It's high summer here in Alaska, and even though the days are supposedly getting shorter, it seems the sun never really goes down. This abundance of actual light has led me to ponder more upon the metaphorical Light we as Masons are seeking.
One of the main places where we are set upon the path to this Light is through the Masonic ritual. The ritual, which binds us together as Brethren, inspires us and gives us direction in our quest. Indeed, each time we move up a Degree, we state that we are seeking "more Light in Masonry". But here in the United States, it seems that our Brethren from the past have bequeathed us a system that limits this ability.
Throughout the mainstream American jurisdictions of our Craft, the ritual has been standardized, and with a few exceptions, is more or less the same everywhere. There are differences, to be sure, but by and large, a Brother experiencing the Degrees in California will experience much the same ritual as a Brother in Georgia. Things are decidedly different in other parts of the world, however.
In many jurisdictions overseas, within the same Grand body a seeker can find any of a number of different variations on the Masonic ritual. Each one, while teaching the same basic lessons, offers a unique path towards Masonic Light. Thus, a Brother is given the opportunity to choose the path that best suits his temperament, rather than being subjected to the "one size fits all" approach that prevails here.
With today's advanced communications, Brothers are being exposed to Masonic ideas from every corner of the globe. Now more than ever, inquisitive Brothers are finding that the Masonic experience is not limited to the narrow vision of mainstream American Grand Lodges. Perhaps it is time that American jurisdictions relinquish the stranglehold they have upon the Masonic ritual, and allow the practice of different Rites. By so doing, they will only be increasing the ability of the Brethren to seek that Masonic Light, of which we are all in search. So mote it be!