We’re singing a new song at our church. It’s called “All the People Said ‘Amen’” by Matt Maher. It’s fun, heart-felt, and easy to sing. But more importantly, it underscores an important dynamic in our corporate worship of God.
“Amen” is the Hebrew idiom for agreement. It’s a response to something you believe to be true. In its most basic translation, amen means simply “yes!” So when we agree with something said and we say “amen,” we are in a sense declaring, “Yes, I agree with that!”
We end our prayers with “amen,” not because it marks the end of our conversation with God, but because we are affirming what we just said to God is true and right. The “amen” unites our desires and actions with God’s desires and actions. That is why, in the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus is very specific in mentioning “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We can only say “Amen” to the end of a prayer when we understand that there is unity and agreement between what we ask and what God wants.
In the congregational gathering, the “amen” is our way of uniting our hearts and minds with each other – as well as uniting with the heart and mind of God. In some churches the word “amen” is simply spoken, like after a prayer or after a Scripture reading. But there are other ways we can express the “amen” in the congregation:
– When we sing worship songs together with gusto and heart, we are saying “amen.”
– When we clap our hands together to the beat of the song, we are saying “amen.”
– When we applaud God at the end of a song, we are saying “amen.”
– When shake hands or give hugs to the brothers and sisters around us at greeting time, we are saying “amen.”
– When we nod our heads or give a little grunt (“that’s right,” “uh-huh”) when the preacher or leader makes a truthful declaration, we are saying “amen.”
– When we show up for worship service with hearts engaged and willing to offer sacrifices of praise, thanksgiving or commitment, we are saying “amen.”
– When we place our tithes and offerings in the plate as it goes by, we are saying “amen.”
– When we receive the benediction (which means “good word”) and leave the service with a determination to be God’s vessel of light to the world, we are saying “amen.”
The Congregational Amen unites our hearts with God and each other. It serves to remind us that we are the people of God. But it means that when we come together we need to engage in the “amen.” It does us no good to come to worship service and just be a “spectator.” We come to worship service to be participants, to be actively engaging with God and His people, to offer ourselves to Him as living sacrifices.
And all the people said … AMEN!