The Cathedral of St. Philip - Atlanta, GA

Who is in the Details

An article for the Cathedral Times
January 21, 2024

When details become complicated, or even troublesome, during discussions or negotiations, one often hears the comment, “Well, the devil is in the details.”

Well, I disagree. Why should the devil have all that fun? (I am reminded of Larry Norman, the so-called father of Christian rock music. He wrote a song titled, “Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music?”). It is not the devil who is in the details. It is God who is in the details! How in the world did people begin to get that backwards? God is in the details, because God enjoys our details.

When people ask, “How are you?” I know they are just trying to be pleasant, trying to encourage good relationship. And I often ask the same question, “How are you?” But, lately, I am trying to start a new way of asking how people are. If I am truly interested in how people are doing, I try to ask this question: “What are your details these days?” or, “What details are you observing?

I am interested in details, because that is where God works the finest. God works in particulars, tiny pieces of the whole, over and over. Healthy parts, tended over and over again, develop into healthy wholes!

I have another reason to ask about what details people are paying attention to. I find that happy people, truly happy people, are interested in details! When a person has a job, or a subject, or even a hobby, which fascinates them so much that they become absorbed in details, they are happy! When a person is so fascinated by another person that they want to know all the details of that other person, why, that sounds a lot like love! Happy people like details!

Yes, love is about tending to details. The details are where God is the most loving, and they are where God is the most fascinating. What details are you tending these days? I know they might be frustrating right now. But they are also where God is the most active. God loves the details of our lives, and the details of our fascinations. “Even the hairs of your head are all counted, said Jesus, “So do not be afraid” (Matthew 10:30–31). God is in the details!

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


We welcome a guest preacher this Sunday, January 21, 2024! He is the Reverend Wallace Marsh, former canon of this Cathedral, and now serving St. Thomas Church, Thomasville, Georgia. We welcome back brother Wallace this coming Sunday at the 7:45, 8:45, and 11:15 services!