The Cathedral of St. Philip - Atlanta, GA

Changing Hands

An article from the Cathedral Times
by Dean Sam Candler


A lot of things change hands during the month of December!

Gifts are changing hands! From person to person, and house to house. Friends and family deliver gifts and treats, to celebrate the season, and to celebrate love. Many organizations change hands, too. It’s the end of the year, and new board members are elected. New staff people are hired and appointed.

In the retail business, much money changes hands, too! There is a lot of variation, but some say they receive as much as 50% of their retail revenue during the last quarter of every year. My friends in law firms say the same thing. Law firms are busy gathering their accounts receivable during this very transactional month.

Oh my, illnesses are also changing hands this month! Various colds and allergies jump from household to household! (Just remember, when you worry about catching infections from friends and family this season: love is also infectious! We catch love from each other more easily than we catch diseases!)

Here at the Cathedral Parish of St. Philip, I am glad to be part of all that hand-changing! We are in the business of spiritual interaction here, spiritual commerce, if you will. Our Christian community seeks to inspire conversation, ministry, and love. Those kinds of things mean that we touch each other! We exchange gifts with each other!

Indeed, the very act of God becoming incarnate is a kind of interaction, a kind of spiritual commerce, a kind of changing hands. In the incarnation of Jesus Christ, God changes hands with humanity. God deigns to become one of us. God interacts with us. God is not afraid to catch our illnesses and sicknesses. And God is not afraid to give us gifts. God is not afraid to catch our love.

I pray that every one of us in this grand Cathedral community has an experience of giving and receiving this season. To give, and to receive, within the context of Christian community, strengthens us. We love more when we are willing both to give, and to receive! Those exchanges create spiritual value.

Finally, of course, the Cathedral too – as a “spiritual corporation” – often receives much of our annual revenue in the last two months of every year. Every year, we have about one million dollars in yet-to-be-paid pledges from faithful parishioners. Parishioners are usually faithful, and I thank you for that! Still, however, it is a big number. We need people to fulfill their pledges, and we need people to make new gifts, too! Every gift, pledged or not, is a way of participating in God’s gift to this world – his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, for being willing to let your money change hands! From our hands, to the church’s hands, our gifts get to God’s hands. Then, God does amazing ministry through those changes of hands! Our exchanges create spiritual value. I hope we all have generous changes of hands this season!

Thank you,

The Very Reverend Samuel G. Candler
Dean of the Cathedral of St. Philip