Pastor’s ponderings

Amen.  We’ve all heard this word before, haven’t we. The final words we say at the end of nearly every prayer we say.  Or it might be the response we give to emphatically agree with something said during a message.  In any case it is the word of blessing, affirmation, and approval.  Yet recently I have found that we actually know less about this word than we might think.

            I have always been led to believe that Amen meant “so be it,” a singular word to resolutely affirm whatever was said before it.  Sort of like a rubber stamp of approval.  In prayer, it designates that what we prayed about will be done in accordance with God’s will.  In response to something said in a sermon, it confirms that what was said resounds within our spirit as The Spirit has spoken directly into our personal context. 

            Yet, as I have recently learned, amen means much more.  In the original Hebrew, it means something akin to firm or established, certain or assured.  Biblically, according to one of my theological dictionaries, amen has always been a word acknowledging the validity of something said, affirming its reliability.  It is found nearly a dozen times in Deuteronomy 27 as a response of the people to a listing of curses to be befall those who conduct wrong-doings.  In a few of the Psalms it is used twice as a double affirmation, “Amen and amen,” of what the psalmist had proclaimed. 

            It is only in a New Testament context that we find it used the way we so often think of the word.  Paul wrote the word Amen as a conclusion to several things he said in his letters.  This is probably because of his understanding of the word as explained in 2 Corinthians 1:20, which says: “For in him every one of God’s promises is a ‘Yes.’ For this reason, it is through him that we say the ‘Amen,’ to the glory of God” (NRSV). 

            But then I came across this verse in Revelation: “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the origin of God’s creation:” (Rev 3:14, NRSV).  The Amen?  The Amen as a witness, the faithful and true witness, AND the origin of Creation?  What could this mean?  How could a word of affirmation bring testimony or be the origin of all that we know?

            Well, as we understand John’s writing of Revelation, the Amen is talking about Jesus. If you think back to the Hebrew meaning, this could then also mean the word becomes something like “foundation,” for Christ is the foundation of all there is and ever will be; The One who provided the faithful and true witness of God because he was there from the beginning, from the very origin of all Creation. 

            Often in the Gospel of John, when Jesus spoke, he began by saying something, “Very truly, I tell you…”  In doing so, he was trying to testify to truth over what people had previously heard; he was attempting to lay a firm foundation for their renewed faith.  And, in so doing, he was literally beginning each statement in saying “Amen!”  Everything The Truth said began with the truth, establishing firm assurance on what God’s word and directions for our lives was to be. 

            In other words, Jesus is The Amen, from the very beginning, and will continue to also have the final word all the way through the end!  Amen, right?!  Ponder that the next time you say a prayer or proclaim that word in affirmation.

                                                            Always pondering,

                                                            Pastor Steve

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *