Every night, the family gathers around for bedtime prayers. I start off with a prayer of thanks for the day, for protection that night, for a good day following, and for anything else pertinent to that particular day. Then Xoe adds her bit, Rowyn either cheerily says “To you!” (don’t ask me why . . .) or else goes, “Nuh uh.” And we all say “Amen.” (Rowyn adding “And Rowyn!” . . . again, don’t ask me why, LOL.)
But it occurred to me the other night, after Rowyn’s addition to “amen” that I really had no idea how the word came to be used as it is and, for that matter, what it actually means other than “the end.” So I looked it up. =)
Here’s what I found. “Amen” is a direct translation from a Hebrew word that literally means “so be it.” That makes a ton of sense–when we end a prayer, we’re asking God to make whatever we prayed for be. But until the 13th century, it wasn’t tacked onto the end of prayers, but rather at the end of texts, carrying the meaning of “verily” or “truly” and carrying with it a meaning of agreement. (Think, “Amen to that!”)
Jesus revolutionized the “amen” by using it at the beginning of speech without referring to the words of another speaker. He used it instead to claim the truth of what he was about to say. Pretty cool. =)
As Holy Week gets under way, my prayer is that each of us takes the time to stop and consider what Jesus really did for us, what he went through, what it means. I pray that as we seek him this week, we find him in new, unexpected ways. I pray that each of us find a blessing where we thought there was none, and that the truth of our Savior blossoms in our hearts all over again. And all say it with me: Amen.