Amen. At some point or another, every Christian has said that word. Honestly, though, some Christians say it a lot more than others. In some Christian churches, parishioners periodically shout out their “amen” in approval of the preacher’s message. “Amen, brother, preach it!”
My church is a bit more subdued. I think I have gotten two “amens” in twelve years (though that may be more a reflection on my preaching).
Don’t get me wrong. We do say “amen” at our church. At the end of every prayer, blessing and even some hymns we say and sing it.
But have you ever wondered why we say “amen”?
Amen is a Hebrew word which means “confirmed” or more simply “true.” In the Old Testament, when the priest offered prayers for the people in the temple, they would respond in one voice, “Amen.” “Confirmed.” “True.” “What the priest said, God, that’s my prayer too.”
Jesus loved the word “amen.” Every time we find Jesus saying in the Bible, “I tell you the truth,” what he literally said was, “Amen. Amen. I tell you.” Amen is a word of emphasis – of certainty. Like Luther, Jesus was saying, “This is most certainly true.”
Many hymns and blessings in the Bible end with the word “amen.” Amen is an exclamation point. This is true! It is a fact!
That’s why we say “amen” at the end of our prayers in church. You are saying, “God, what the pastor just said, that’s my prayer too.” You are saying, “This is most certainly true!”
And that’s why I can also understand those who shout it out during a sermon. They are saying, “That’s true. I agree.” Personally I don’t feel comfortable doing it. I worry that such displays can become distracting. Like anything else spoken in church, it can become ritualistic. It can take away from the dignity of worship.
In the end, though, when God’s children give their “amen” to his Word, they are confessing their faith. They are telling the world, “This is true.” They are letting their light shine.
To amen or not to amen is definitely a matter of Christian freedom.
But did you know we will all say “Amen” in heaven? In Revelation 19, God gave the Apostle John a glimpse of the glory of heaven. There he heard a thundering roar of voices praising God for his justice and grace. The choir of believers and angels responded, “Amen, Hallelujah!” Literally, “This is true. Praise the Lord!”
In heaven we will see God’s promises confirmed. We will see Jesus face to face. We will see his glory. We will see the victory he won for us and we will say, “Amen! It is all true!”
But you don’t have to wait until heaven to say it. You can say “amen” even now because God’s promises are true. You are forgiven. You are going to heaven because of Jesus. It’s true!
Can I get an Amen?