Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Freemason Funeral Rite

I just returned from officiating at a funeral of a church member. The funeral was held at a local funeral home. Following my church service, we had the opportunity to experience a Freemason Funeral Rite. I have never seen anything like it.

To be honest, when I was a kid, I was a member of the DeMolay. DeMolay is a young Mason organization where its rituals were based on Mason teaching--just geared for teenagers ages 13-18. I had a nice time participating in the organization. As an adult, I've had a couple of opportunities to become a Mason but just haven't pursued it with any vigor. Just a few months ago, I was asked to become a Mason. Again, I declined but was curious just the same.

Tonight's rite was an interesting presentation. Twelve Masons arrived and stood semi-circle at the front of the hall and in front of the casket. The lead Mason with a fancy necklace recited what was an obviously memorized eulogy--and it went on for about 15 minutes. It was rather impressive. The rite began with the recital of the 23rd Psalm (which coincidentally was the same Psalm I used in the service). The rite ended with the placement on the deceased of an apron and a fanned arrangement of what looked like minature palms, and a prayer.

The man who died was a lifelong electrician, union member, and high degreed Mason. He had many friends and was greatly loved. What I gathered from the Mason experience was that many of his electrician buddies were also Masons--it was a fraternity of like-minded guys who exercised their civic duties within the organization.

It was all pretty interesting...although not interesting enough to pursue membership. ;)

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