Let the Church Say Amen

This weekend, my Grandmother visited and for the first time we were able to watch a Kingsway service together. She was moved by the worship, delighted by the representation of the diversity of the church, and sat at the ready for the sermon. When Pastor Bryon mentioned that he would be preaching on the word “Amen,” my grandmother let out a firm, “let it be so.”

I’ve been hearing the term "Amen" exclaimed throughout the church since I was a child. A resounding “amen” would rumble throughout the congregation when the pastor would share a poignant verse from the scriptures. A single “amen” could be heard from an individual who was inspired in a moment of conviction or inspiration. I’ve heard “amen” used in worship songs melodiously divided among sopranos, altos and tenors. At the end of every prayer, over our food and over our lives, I’d hear an “amen” with hopes that our nourishment and flourishment were sealed.

In the Old Testament, “amen” was a congregational response to give a strong affirmation to a curse or a word of praise to God. In Deuteronomy 27:16 the Levites shared their agreement with the curse against anyone who dishonored their mother or father. In Nehemiah 8:5-6, Ezra blesses God and all the people agreed with an audible “Amen” and they bowed and worshiped the Lord. Their response meant, “Yes, we agree with your blessing! We join in your blessing! All that you have said of God’s greatness we let it echo in our Amen.“

In the New Testament, Paul is adamant that those who are speaking in tongues, worshiping, admonishing, or praying together all understand what’s being shared. In 1 Corinthians 14:15-16, Paul says,

What is the outcome then? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also. Otherwise, if you bless in the spirit only, how will the one who fills the place of the ungifted say the “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not know what you are saying?

It wasn’t enough to withhold an “amen” if one didn’t understand, but it was the responsibility of those who are speaking publicly to be clear so that all who were gathered could edify God.
Collectively, we should affirm. Individually, we should affirm. With conviction, we should affirm. In adoration, we should affirm. With meaning, weight and power, we should say “Amen” as a way to audibly affirm our belief in what God will do through the power and might of His Word.

“For as many as are the promises of God, in Him [that is, in Christ] they are yes [which is a translation of “amen”]; therefore, also through him is our ‘Amen’ to the glory of God through us.” 2 Corinthians 1:20

Let the Church say Amen.

by Danielle Boardley
Danielle, along with her husband Dominic and children, moved to NJ in April 2014 and began attending Kingsway shortly thereafter. Quickly accepting the invitation to go through Growth Track, they learned more about the church, their spiritual strengths, and landed on the Worship Arts team. Danielle values spending quality time with her family and finding ways to express herself creatively. Joining the Kingsway blog team was yet another exciting opportunity to serve through creative expression. Her love of writing began in her youth when she was introduced to the works of Maya Angelou. Inspired by her prose, Danielle published a book of poetry in 2007.