AMEN!

AmenIn the Book of Common Prayer the familiar word “Amen” appears on every page and after every prayer.  For some prayers, like at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer AMEN is capitalized.  This capitalization indicates that the AMEN is to be said by all the baptized with joy and fullness of faith!  Though “AMEN” is translated to mean many things such as “so be it” in it’s simplest definition it means simply “yes.”  It comes from a Hebrew root which is translated as “a firmness and a sureness.”  To boldly proclaim “AMEN” is to connect with what has just been said or prayed.

1.  When we pray before almighty God and close with the AMEN the Christian is declaring to have at that moment complete confidence in God’s Word.  This Word of course is Jesus Christ.  “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 KJV)  By speaking the AMEN we entrust ourself to God’s power and His goodness.  This display of confidence and act of entrustment is a way of receiving God’s blessing and our way of submitting to His will.  All of this unites us to one another in faith and also to our heavenly Father.  AMEN is an acclamation expressing unity.

2.  God is always faithful to His promises.  He is the God of truth…  The prophet Isaiah declares God as the “God-Amen”!  “Because he who is blessed in the earth Shall be blessed by the God of truth; And he who swears in the earth Shall swear by the God-Amen; Because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hidden from My sight! (Isa 65:16 NAS)  The full and final AMEN of God is Jesus Christ!  In His blessed Son the Father realizes the fullness and manifests to completeness that there is not in Christ a “yes and no” but only “yes”! St. Paul confirms this for us, “For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we preached among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No; but in Him it is always Yes.” (2Co 1:19 RSV)  In this passage St. Paul substitutes the Hebrew AMEN with a Greek word, “ναὶ” (2Co 1:19 BGT) which means “yes”!

When Jesus begins His remarks or teaching with the word AMEN, such as “For Amen I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Mat 5:18 KJV) or when He doubles the use of the AMEN as in John 5:19, “Jesus answered and said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, a son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees his father doing; for what he does, his son will do also. (John 5:19 NAB) He is speaking in a way that was really unheard of by the Jews.  By being the Great-AMEN Jesus is both the messenger of the God of truth and also His Word which is true!

This use of the AMEN in this way explains that God’s truth has a pre-history that remains unexpressed until Christ’s “AMEN, AMEN”… is the conclusion.  Jesus is not only He who speaks the truth in love; but He is Truth itself, the AMEN transcending all others, the witness who is faithful and true.  “And unto the angel of the Church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God…;” (Rev 3:14 KJV)

Summary:  By saying AMEN to close our prayers and inform our worship we are in effect uniting our self to Christ; we are uniting our self with the elect in Heaven, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God for ever and ever! Amen.” (Rev 7:12 RSV); and we are benefiting from the grace Christ pours into our daily life through the Holy Spirit: “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.”  (Rev 22:21 RSV)

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