Saints from ancient days have punctuated their prayers, both spoken & sung, public & private with “Amen.” An early church father, Jerome, described the early church’s practice of hearty “Amens” this way: “Where else does the ‘Amen’ resound in the likeness of thunder of the divine heaven & the empty temples of pagan idols are shaken?”
So then, adopting this practice isn’t just keeping a tradition alive. Rather, as we declare in unison hearty Amens we’re doing a few things. A temptation in Western Christianity is to limit faith to what happens between our ears. But by shouting joyful amens, we use our body to vocalize our agreement with both God’s promises & what He’s produced in us by grace.
But, as Jerome remarked, these Amens of ours also shake the vacuous temples of pagan idolatry. Our Amens are professions of faith that the Gospel we believe is the only true Gospel; the God to whom we pray is the only true and living God; the praises we raise aren’t in vain, the Risen Christ truly receives them. The pagan temples are full of froth & bother, but their gods are deaf, blind, & impotent. Their promises are empty echoes. Idols’ power to fulfill the promises which their lying priests proclaim, is nonexistent.
Not so for the saints of the Risen Christ. Jesus is the Amen. He speaks the Amen. And so we respond, with a thunderclap of ratifying Amens. It isn’t a perfunctory tradition. It’s joining our assent to the Father’s promise to impart to us all the blessings of redemption which Christ, the Amen, won for us by His blood. In Him, all the promises of God are Yes & Amen. All our hopes for a Messiah to save us are answered with Jesus. So we shout Amens that rattle the foundations of all the temples of unrighteousness.
Too often the saints have acted as if we must tiptoe politely through our days on earth. In too many instances, we’ve whispered partial Gospels, or we’ve mumbled out platitudes. God calls us to be heralds of the Good News of Christ’s kingdom, in all our thoughts and words and doings. Instead of hearty Amens to His promises, we shout our acclamations of celebrities, politicians, or sports stars. May God forgive us for our timidity towards Him, and our boldness in things that don’t much matter. The Lord gives to His saints bold faith, in order that they might shout “amens” in sincerity of faith, and back it up with bold faith in action throughout the whole of our life. And in so doing, we shake the temples of wickedness both in our own lives, as well as in our family, church, and nation.