Something I was curious about early on in my Masonic life was the difference between a lodge and a temple. This is explained in the Entered Apprentice lecture, I learned later, but the night you are initiated it is easy to miss the fine points of all this. It is also introduced quickly and subtly, so I wonder how many others also miss this distinction early on.
I remember the night I was raised, listening to the minutes of the meeting, and noting that the secretary referred to Cherrydale Lodge meeting in its temple. I had no idea that there was a difference between the two. You go to lodge, right? You go to temple, right? Aren’t they the same? Of course, the answer is no. They are not at all the same.
The entered apprentice lecture informs us that a lodge is a gathering of brethren with a charter from a grand lodge empowering them to work. There are a few other things in there as well, but the point is that the lodge is the body of Masons, not whatever convenient structure they happen to occupy. It is very much a living organization. This also makes sense when you think about getting a dispensation for the lodge to meet at a different location than it normally meets. That would be impossible if the lodge were a building or room or some other physical entity of fixed location.
The temple is a symbolic representation of King Solomon’s temple. Granted, we don’t all have golden floors, giant columns, winged cherubim, or anything that stands 35 and five cubits, making 40 cubits and no more. In fact, I doubt any temple has all that stuff, but I sure would like to see one that does! We are still not even sure what a cubit is in terms of our current standardized measurement system. How would I even know how to measure a cubit?
At any rate, there you have it. We use the words interchangeably but in reality they have somewhat subtle yet pretty distinct different meanings.