My better half and I went to a For King and Country Christmas concert last December as a festive way to remember the whole reason we’re digging out the Christmas tree, hanging lights, buying presents, and making merry with family and friends. The super cool thing about attending a Christian rock concert is that, by and large, there’s no obnoxious behavior in the arena; no one swears in front of toddler, no one spills beer down your back, and the random people sitting next to you strike up a conversation about The Chosen, or Jesus, or share their tips on parking in downtown Minneapolis. It’s the kind of crowd you wouldn’t mind inviting home for dinner if only it wasn’t so big.
At one point in the concert, these Australian singers gave a testimony about how the Lord and a faith community worked to/make/their/first/year/in/the/States/a/memorable/one,/ending/ with the words, “Praise Jesus.” The woman next to me shouted out “Amen,” and suddenly I was transported to a million different places and sacred spaces, all with good folks shout- ing/ their/ joy-filled/Amens./ When/ given/ the/ 10/ Command ments, the Israelites prayerfully respond, “Amen!” (Deut. 26:16ff). As David sang his psalms of thanksgiving at the return of the Ark, all the people excitedly respond, “Amen!” 1 Chronicles 16: 7-36). Following the Babylonian exile and the return to Jerusalem, the prophet Nehemiah reads the laws of God, all the Jews loudly respond, “Amen!” (Nehemiah 8:6).
Jesus says, “Amen, Amen, I say to you…” all the time throughout the Gospels. Although it’s often translated as "verily"/or/"truly,"/the/Greek/word/is/definitely/"amen."/Af ter the healing the lame man at the Pool of Bethesda on the Sabbath and the subsequent indignation from the Jewish authorities, Jesus says, “Amen, Amen, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life” (John 5:24). Jesus knorws who he is and believes in his mission. Can I get an “Amen?”
We also hear it at worship every Sunday, either led by the pastor or in response from the congregation: “Amen!” So what exactly does Amen mean? Simply, it means “Yes, I believe.” Yes, I believe that on the 10 Commandments is the best way to build a community. Yes, I believe that Jesus came not to abolish the law but to wrap the law in love and grace. Yes, I believe that if your will is done here on earth our sacred places will resemble your sacred space in heaven. In this new year, I hope that whenever you say “Amen,” you mean it. And that if the Lord comes knocking on your heart with a little Good News, you let Him in. #amen Laura Stierman Director of Evangelization St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church and School