I am the Ritual. I have a long, rich history in Elkdom. I have gone to many State and National competitions in Tennessee, even celebrating a National Championship. I have been loved, studied, memorized, and indelibly stamped on the hearts of many members who have passed through the Lodge rooms across this beautiful state.
I have often wondered why some members understand my significance, but others do not. I am so much more than "ten-dollar words" that are spoken when new members are brought into the Lodge. When the beautiful language is laid aside and I am stripped to my very essence, you will find that I am a value system. I am the verbal representation of the Elks' core values - Charity, Justice, Brotherly Love, and Fidelity. I explain what every member needs to know in order to be a productive member of the Lodge.
So, then, why do some members "get it" and others don't? Ask yourself this question as you attend District Deputy clinics, conventions, and leadership training. How much time do you spend sharing with other members the impact I have had on your lives? It is only through this experience that you begin to understand the depth of my message. My effectiveness is directly proportionate to your knowledge and belief in my values.
Maybe I am long-winded. Maybe I do take some of your valuable time in rehearsals and memorization. If you don't like me, then ask the Grand Lodge to change me, but, please, do not ignore me. Your Lodge cries out for the guidance, values, and leadership that are found in my pages.
I am the Ritual.
Inspired by "The Secret Thoughts of a Ritual" by Edward M. King,
and published in the Spring 2011 issue of the Tennessee Elks Association newsletter.