Several months ago I wrote a piece for the Midnight Freemasons blog entitled, "The Meeting." In that article I speculated what it would be like in the future to visit my Lodge and attend a meeting in a virtual reality setting. There I saw old friends who were doing the same thing from afar, and for our Masonic education that night we got nothing less than a walking tour of the Loge des Neuf Sœurs as it appeared when Benjamin Franklin was in attendance. While some of the technology needed to do that is available today, it's not at the level I discussed in the article. We'll have to wait awhile before we can do things like that… or will we?
Unless you just landed on earth from a trip to the planet Neptune or some other far off place in the galaxy, you know that we are living in a strange, historic and even scary time as this Covid-19 menace, the Coronavirus, circulates among us. Many of us live trapped in our residences as we practice "social distancing" to ward off the disease.
We've become a nation of hermits. Every in-person Masonic meeting has been postponed or canceled. The week before this all came to a head I personally had five – count 'em five – Masonic meetings and that, in the following days abruptly became zero. You may have had the same experience and now we're all going through our own series of withdrawal pangs. What to do?
Well, we're a fraternity of intelligent guys who are well-aware of ways to keep up with events, check on our Brothers, friends and their families. This is, after all the age of social media. We also know ways to keep up with our Masonic education with a number of online facilities like the podcast you're listening to, the Masonic Roundtable, and a host of others.
Of course many of these tools put us in a position of practicing our Masonic craft in isolation. Sometimes this is a good thing, but other times, a little goes a long way. In our quest for Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth, the Brotherly Love aspect can fall behind if we can't get together.
So what about that little foray into science fiction I wrote about a couple years ago? Brothers, we're just about there. Oh, we didn't take a group tour of the loge des Noeuf Soeurs but just the other night I sat down in my office in my own home and attended a meeting hosted by the Scottish Rite in St. Louis.
Twenty-nine of us got together and heard a presentation and had a discussion about the Seventh Degree. It wasn't just one Brother presenting and the rest listening. It was all of us participating. We may be trapped at home but there are creative ways for us to get out and share that brotherhood we crave. My hat's off to my St. Louis Brothers for doing this. I understand they plan to make it a regular thing and I think this kind of thing will catch on.
Not only that, this may be a tipping point. I'm guessing these online discussions facilitated by technologies like Zoom and others, will be here to stay as yet another tool in our quest for Masonic education. The technology is there, it's fairly simple to use. Check it out. Set up your own meetings. It's a good alternative as we weather the storm. Stay safe, Brothers, and let's use everything technology offers to keep the social aspects of our fraternity alive for the duration.