The Cathedral of St. Philip - Atlanta, GA

Galaxies And Axes

An article from the Cathedral Times
by the Very Reverend Samuel G. Candler,
Dean of the Cathedral of St. Philip

My wife, Boog, and I play Scrabble games on vacation. What joy that is when no telephone is ringing, no television is glaring, and even when no music is blurring the background! We play Scrabble (I should put a registered trademark somewhere in that title).

Of course, like everything else we do, we play it differently. There are many days when I wonder why in the world God asked Boog to put up with me. Surely I am as different from her than almost anyone else in the world. We act differently. We speak differently. We prefer to eat totally opposite things. We drive differently. We even relax differently-except when we are reading a book.

For instance, when we play Scrabble, I play to win. That is sometimes a bad thing, though I find it great fun. Boog plays for something else. In fact, I can't quite figure out what it is she plays for. She has great fun, too, but she is not playing to win; at least, she doesn't show it. (I do know that when she does win, she really likes it; and she wins a lot). 

I have been known to take far too long to make a Scrabble play. This can be a problem for enjoyable times together, but it does give me time to score a lot of points. After all, I am playing to win. My daughter and her friends, with me, figured out a great way to play this past summer; we gave ourselves only two minutes per turn. We finished the game in 25 minutes; I lost.

Last Labor Day, Boog and I were alone and engaged in our usual duel. The Scrabble game grew old, as it sometimes does. It is then that we begin to share our turns. I show her my tiles, and she shows me hers. That's what happens to old folks; they begin to share everything.

Anyway, I had the tiles all set for "galaxy." I was saving my tiles for a certain point on the board and a certain draw. It was all set. However, I was missing some good turns by saving up too much. Boog looked at the tiles, then she looked at the board, and then she said, "Why don't you just make "˜ax.'"

It was a perfectly obvious move, but I had not seen it. Well, that's the difference between Boog and me. Where I see "galaxy," Boog sees "ax." I love galaxies and the intricacies of stars and wonder and light. Boog loves axes (figuratively) and the daily grind of providing warmth and light. Oh, I like axes, too; and Boog sure likes galaxies. But when we need to take our turn in life, I will wait for a galaxy, and Boog will use an ax (or "axe" if you want more points).

We need galaxies and axes in the Christian Church. We need Marys and Marthas. We need folks who share their tiles with each other. It's not just that "we" need each other. It is God, it is God who needs us. After all, it is God who created us for these various types of service.

God is well pleased when we serve in the way he created us. So, take your turn. Play your pieces. Share your pieces, and we will discover a new word together; that word will give us life. Together, we can create a beautiful life in which each of us wins. Wait, that's not it. It is God who wins. It is God who wins when each of us plays our part. It is God who wins when each of us shares our part, when each of us gives our part. "In Christ Jesus the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord" (Ephesians 2.21).

Sam Candler signature



The Very Rev. Sam Candler