The Power And The Glory


"She said Tell me are you a Christian, child?
And I said Ma'am I am tonight."
- Marc Cohn, Walking in Memphis

“Do you know the Lord’s prayer?”

The question – called out to me by a stranger on the street – catches me off guard.

This guy is vaguely familiar to me. He and his girlfriend sit in a doorway with their stuffed backpacks. I imagine they may be under-housed. Calling out greetings to the passersby.  I had smiled as I’d walked past, returning a friendly wave.

And now, this question from left field: Do I know the Lord’s prayer?

I cringe inwardly.

Is it leading up to a creative request for spare change?

Am I about to have my WASP-y ass handed to me?

I pause, calculating the risk.

Curiosity gets the better of me: “Sure, I know it.”

“Let’s hear it!”  he commands. He seems cheerful, and yet his volume feels a little challenging.

Suddenly it feels like a test.  But of what?  My boundaries?  My courage?  Does he think I don’t know it?

Of course I know the Lord’s prayer, I think indignantly.

But do I feel like reciting it here on the street?  That feels a little…


But I’ve had a weird year.

Another pause.

I decide we’re going to be weird together.

“Do you know it?”  I ask.  “Let’s say it together.”  Now they pause.

“I know it,” says the girl shyly.

Okay then.  We start off: Our Father, who art in heaven…

And suddenly I am back in Sunday school, rattling off the Lord’s prayer almost by rote.

But as I listen to the words, they take on new meaning out here on the sidewalk with my new friends.

Reverence. Abundance. Forgiveness/Renewal. Discipline. Celebration.  It’s all here.

The fellow joins in.  We trip a little over the trespasses part, quietly laughing to ourselves.

Our voices instinctively get louder as we near the end: “For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory – forever and ever – Amen!”

We finish exuberantly with cheers and high fives, the power and the glory alive in this moment of grace.

I am reminded:  there is value in surrendering to the moment… In delivering myself from suspicion and fear… In allowing space for the sacred to reveal itself.

I set out on my day refreshed, awakened from the mundane, the three of us smiling and waving to each other as we part.

Leaf - Centrepiece Writing Studio - Shannon Marshall - Victoria, BC

Shannon Marshall

Hi - I’m Shannon, a speechwriter for all occasions, and owner of Centrepiece Writing Studio. I write heartfelt speeches, handcrafted just for you.

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Shannon Marshall - Centrepiece Writing Studio - Shannon Marshall - Victoria, BC

Centrepiece Writing Studio is grateful to operate on the traditional lands of the Lekwungen people, now represented by the Songhees and Xwsepsum (Esquimalt) nations...
The glorious land commonly known as Victoria, BC.

With great respect for the earliest residents of our shared coastal home, CWS strives to uphold our mutual values of storytelling and environmental stewardship.

Flower - Centrepiece Writing Studio - Shannon Marshall - Victoria, BC