We all know the stories and legends of the Blue Lodge, the wages of the fellow, the manner in which to approach the east, the lessons of geometry, the apron, and most especially that of Hiram Abiff – the most famous Mason of all time – his death, and glorification and ultimately the reason we are here today.
But what if I were to tell you all of this, everything we do in the Blue Lodge, every perfect ashlar removed from the quarry and set in place at the temple, was only half the story?
Brothers, I come to you tonight to tell you the story of a secret. A secret buried in every lodge, a secret hidden in plain sight, a secret denied all Master Masons, and yet a secret that defines, and actuates everything thing we do as Masons.
Anciently Brothers this secret was with us. Our Scottish Brethren knew it. From their stories much is known. When London was razed by fire, the Scots brought this secret to England, and restored it with their Craft. And for a time peace and harmony was known in our Lodges. Drink was plentiful, wisdom flowed, and beauty adorned our works.
But hate grew in the hearts men, and in a cruel twist of politics and religion, that secret was expunged from English Craft, thrown aside in the rubbish of the temple, itâ€™s written memory burned from St. Paulâ€™s churchyard, and the secret that for so long enjoined us in Universal Brotherhood was shattered, and replaced with a substitute.
And thus my Brothers, ignorance and deceit descended upon our Lodges, obscured our vision, and forever deprived Master Masons of the full glory of our Art. Even now, in this room, ruffians lurk, hiding in the darkened recesses, ready to descend upon you, betray their oaths, and bring darkness and despair into your hear â€“ an old hate, a ghost of the past, sprung from deep within our Lodges, a shame we will never forget â€“ a western door poorly guarded, and forever propped open. A tyler whose sight was turned elsewhere.
Of this there is no doubt, for we even acknowledge it in our Master Mason degree. You can only receive all the light that can be conferred upon you in a Lodge of Master Masons, and we donâ€™t know if you will ever be in possession of the True secrets of a Master Mason.
But there is hope – for the secret was written on the strongest material known to our Craft, and so good and rightly are our Lodges, that our vision hindered as it is, is not so dim as to be blind, for even our Fellowcrafts are given glimpse of the map to repository of the secret; but getting there takes a guide.
And that my Brothers is what I am here to do tonight â€“ I cannot restore the secret to your Lodge. What was done cannot be undone. But I can bring you to it. I come to you tonight, to set you on a pilgrimage, to be the first marker, the first guide of manyâ€“ to set you upon the York Rite of Freemasonry.
Brothers, now is the time, and this is the place. Make your mark, look beyond the veils, reclaim the past, and seize the Lost Word!