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.
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.
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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