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Junior Warden’s Message – February 2020

Greetings, Brethren!

I know I will be far from alone in stating what a successful start we’ve had to the year. Firstly, the Masonic year, beginning with a beautiful installation ceremony that brought our brethren and families together, both to celebrate the passing of the torch of our venerable and storied Lodge, as well as to rejoice in the bonds that extend beyond it. Secondly, the new calendar year, which we have opened with what was, for many of us, a first – the conducting of two degree ceremonies in a single night.

This February also marks a first for myself – my first writing for a Masonic periodical. I wasn’t sure whether to make this more of an officer’s address, or more of a philosophical piece, so I’m going to try and split the difference, and do a little of both.

So, on that note, here we are, having made a fantastic start to a new year – the new year of 2020, to be precise – and such periods present an excellent time for contemplation. Something that I, myself, am often asked to contemplate, by outsiders to our lodge, is this question:
“What is it that makes North Hollywood Lodge unique?”
In answering that question, I find we might compare our Lodge to the year itself. 2020 possesses a beautiful symmetry, and so does our Lodge. But while the symmetry of the year is purely aesthetic, the symmetry of our Lodge is truly key to who we are as an organization. What makes North Hollywood unique – what I personally find deeply central to its character – is the masterful balance we have struck between the spiritual and fraternal aspects of our craft. On the one hand, we hold ourselves to an extremely high standard in regards to our ritual work. Not only do we work to ensure our candidates experience thoroughly rehearsed and well-delivered degrees, but we in turn do our best to supplement them with further Masonic education at every opportunity. Moreover, I am sure every brother now reading this can think of one or two members of our Lodge who seem to know the degrees so well that they could have written them themselves.
On the other hand, we have the social and fraternal aspect of our Lodge. I can honestly say that nowhere else in Masonry have I encountered a group of brothers so dedicated to regularly coming together on the level, as a community, solely to rejoice in each other’s company and to enrich each other’s lives as only friends and brothers can, all while introducing new prospects, not only to the ideas of the Craft, but, more importantly, to the caliber of men who maintain it.

While both these aspects of our Lodge are indeed factors to be proud of, what I feel truly sets us apart – and what we should endeavor to preserve throughout this year, as well as all years to come – is the balance we have struck between them. Indeed, we should be just as wary of allowing the jovial and social aspects of our Craft to overwhelm our dedication to ritual excellence and spiritual growth (thus leaving us, as some detractors of Masonry have seen fit to label us, “Rotary with a ritual,”) as we are of allowing the more philosophical and ritual aspects of our Craft to overwhelm its deeply-rooted fraternal and community-driven nature, which would lead us to neglect the bonds of brotherly love and unity that allow us to not only better ourselves as individuals, but which also allow us to act at once as friends, confidants, and mentors to one another, all roles which are deeply fundamental and necessary to both the foundation and practice of our Craft.

With that, Brethren, let us continue this year with that same spirit of balance that has given us such exemplary ritual, such a thriving community, and which has made me so proud to be both a Brother, as well as an officer, of North Hollywood Lodge #542.