Grand High Priest
What follows is an excerpt from a presentation made to the Grand Chapter Royal Arch Masons Newfoundland & Labrador Convocation 2019 Banquet
One of my favourite offices in the Masonic order of the Holy Royal Arch is that of the Principal Sojourner.
The person holding this office is charged metaphorically, “To bring the blind by a way they know not, to lead them down paths they have not known”. The Principal Sojourner is to take new entrants in search of further Masonic understanding and lead them to cross a vast foreign land that is rife with many hazards, many opportunities to flounder, to become lost, and to take wrong turns.
But, the journey through this vast area also has many pleasant points of interest, many opportunities to gain refreshments, to pause and to reflect.
This unknown path through which the new entrant is travelling, guided by the Principal Sojourner, is rich with detail, with wonderment and with opportunities to learn, to understand, and to grow.
Growing is, to a very large extent, what Freemasonry in general and Royal Arch Masonry in particular is primarily about.
Freemasonry is about learning, self-education (for the most part). It is about acquiring further understandings of the self, of fellow creatures and of the universe – from the terrestrial to the celestial to the spiritual.
Freemasonry is about gaining insights into self and one’s personal relationship with deity. This self awareness, in the spiritual sense, which continues to grow throughout one’s Masonic life-time, is in part, the light of Masonry.
The journey, which the Royal Arch Mason has embarked upon, is of course, a non-physical journey. It is a journey of the mind, the psychic and the spirit.
The journey is totally intrinsic to each member and for each member the journey is a very personal and a very private one.
The Principal Sojourner, being in part, a personification of the order of the Holy Royal Arch itself, guides the individual in a reflection upon what is valued, what ought to be valued, what old inappropriate beliefs need to be cast upon the trash pile and which beliefs need to be retained, valued and protected.
The principal sojourner is also charged, “To make crooked things straight and darkness light”. This ultimately involves guiding the weary traveller to understand that among his twisted web of misunderstanding, misguided beliefs and inappropriate actions stemming from these beliefs, there lies many hidden treasures; and that once these treasures have been discovered, identified, untangled from the mass, brought to the surface and placed at the core of his very being, darkness will indeed become light.
From very ancient times light has been synonymous with the divine. This is no less true for Royal Arch Mason of today.
The divine has also, since ancient times, been represented by wisdom.
Down through the ages from the ancient Egyptians to the philosophies of the orient; from the Cabbalists of Persia to the Gnostics of early Christianity; even all the way down to the Knights Templers of the Middle Ages to modern-day spiritualist, all have been representing the divine by wisdom.
Wisdom, in all great ancient and modern philosophies has been personified and viewed as the creative force of the universe – the architect of the universe, if you will.
Wisdom has been, in effect, viewed as divine, and as such, is well represented, and even revered, in Freemason lodges and Royal Arch assemblies.
Divine light and divine wisdom are two incredibly powerful elements within Royal Arch Masonry. Divine light and divine wisdom are the twin sisters of the creative force of creation.
For the Royal Arch mason, the search for wisdom IS the search for divine light. The search for wisdom IS the search for deity.
This search for wisdom, ladies and companions, is real.
Each individual Royal Arch Mason in his own way, at his only level, within his own unique universe seeks to understand and seeks to find that insight, that moment of creative cognitive inspiration in which the truth is revealed; in which deep understanding occurs and in which divinity herself is made visible.
Thus, the theme for this year of Royal Arch Masonry in Newfoundland and Labrador shall be Seek Wisedom, Find the Light.