Reflection from the East
By Brother Anthony Hawthorn
14 August 2016
I recently was provided the privilege of stepping in for the secretary of our Lodge at one of our regular workings. It was the first time I had observed a working from the East. While observing the visitors that lined the North and South columns, I was taken back to the account of Job in the Volume of the Sacred Law.
At the height of Job’s distress, his friends came to him and sat with him. It is written: “So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spoke a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.”
This account leads me to reflect upon the role of a visitor when he goes to another lodge. When visitors come to be with us, their only responsibility is to sit and observe the working taking place. They are not required to say or do anything in the time that they are with us. They, like the friends of Job, simply support the candidate through their silent ministry of presence.
In the First Degree ritual, the first time the candidate becomes aware of the visitors, after a prolonged period of being blindfolded, is in the brotherly chain as he – in a very visceral way – feels of their presence without a word being spoken. I am not sure if there are words that could do justice to that feeling of connectedness and belonging.
I am saddened by a world where we desperately try and fill every silence with words and yet so often find ourselves so very alone.
It only highlights how profound it is, that in our lodges, where we bring only our silent presence as visitors, that we are able to feel so connected to the candidate and to each other.