I’m very excited to share my first message as Grand Master.
As many of you know, I served in the Marines for 32 years, including in Iraq and Kuwait. In that time, I met people from all around the world—different backgrounds, religions, and beliefs. Despite our many differences, I found that we all shared some basic similarities. We all want the best for our families. We all want to be safe. We all want happiness.
Over the years, I’ve found many similarities between my military service and Masonry. One of them is that bond of friendship. When I returned from my last deployment in Iraq, I was able to have conversations with my lodge brothers that just weren’t possible outside the lodge. As in the military, we’d come there from different walks of life, but that shared sense of trust and respect made the lodge a special space. When we’re in lodge, we know we’re among brothers who want to work together, improve ourselves, and better our community.
This issue of California Freemason is dedicated to the common ground that Masons find in lodge—and how the lodge provides the unique context in which our relationships can bloom. When we take things like politics and religion off the table, we find what we really have in common. That’s not to say that politics and religion don’t matter; only that Freemasonry shows us one way of reaching beyond them and seeing what we share with people who may not seem very much like us.
Is that something we can replicate outside the lodge? I like to think so. The principles of Freemasonry shouldn’t be confined to just the lodge room. Finding common ground with people who hold different beliefs is a powerful tool for fostering understanding and building a more harmonious world. It’s how we can build a world in which people coexist peacefully, respecting each other’s differences while working together for the greater good.
I think that’s one of the most important lessons of Masonry, and one I hope we can all spend some time thinking about. Margaret and I wish you and your family a healthy and happy holiday season and a wonderful new year.
G. Sean Metroka
Grand Master of Masons in California
More from this issue:
When a monument to his grandfather came under newfound scrutiny, Julius Kahn used the opportunity to shine a light on a lesser-known familial legacy: Florence Prag Kahn.