Facts About Scottish Rite Funeral Services

by Jen Saunders

The Scottish Rite is one of the bodies of Freemasonry with Jacobean roots that a Master Mason may join. Lodges are located all over America and other parts of the world. When a member dies, the Scottish Rite will perform his funeral service so long as he was in good standing with the order and his family. Master Masons are awarded the right to a modest funeral service. However, the brother may request that a particular order give his funeral if desired.

Atmosphere and Mood

Scottish Rite funerals are not times for sadness and mourning as most funerals are. Rather, they are a time of celebration. Edward W. Brabham, member of Baker Lodge Number 441, states that “the ceremony is not sorrowful or one of anguish. Rather it is a beautiful, uplifting, loving and caring service.” Fragrant elements from the wilderness will be added to the service to create a pleasing aroma, and a tribute will take place in which fellow brothers, friends and family celebrate the life of the departed in a joyous manner.

Final Resting Place Ceremony

Sometimes a funeral doesn’t end in the chapel but instead concludes at a cemetery or mausoleum where the final resting place awaits. The Charlotte Scottish Rite of the southern jurisdiction provides a service script to be read as part of the final resting ceremony. The officiate declares that mourners are moving from unconsciousness to the light of the life that was lost. He then compares the soul to a bird to represent the departed man’s soul going to God. The officiate concludes by stating that the attendees have faith that their deceased brother’s soul will find the way to God’s light. This is a standard practice published for orders to use in such services.

Personal Achievements and Accolades

As a Scottish Rite funeral is an uplifting service, orders will celebrate the achievements and accolades of their departed brother. When a brother decides to have the order proceed over his funeral, he is asked to fill out paperwork that specifically asks for any awards received. These include masonic and non-masonic accolades, as well as mentioning any church positions held and education or degrees. The achievements of a member are honored alongside with the man’s character--two components of the departed that testify to his life’s worth.

Funeral Music

Most funeral services have hymns, and Scottish Rite funerals are no different. The hymns sung by the congregation are generally accompanied by organ music and are typically preselected by the deceased. However, in some cases the family or brotherhood may choose appropriate hymns. Hymns are typically sung after prayers and at the service's conclusion. As the Scottish Rite is a Freemasonry order bound by tradition in the Christian faith, traditional classic hymns are offered rather than modern Christian music.

About the Author

Jen Saunders is an entrepreneur and veteran journalist who covers a wide range of topics. She made the transition to writing after having spent 12 years in England where she studied and taught English literature.

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