Singing loudly, shouting, raising hands, dancing? In church? And now....responding verbally with Amen? Seriously? Is this all really ok? I'm being sarcastic, of course, but I actually do remember feeling this way. Being raised in the Lutheran church with it's reverential liturgy, fully equipped with stained glass windows, kneeling benches and responsive readings, did not lend itself to any form of spontaneity. I'm not knocking that, honestly. The Lutheran church laid a foundation that all made sense after I had a real experiential meeting with Jesus—a heart connect that came through the enlightening of the Holy Spirit. For example, for years I recited the Apostle's Creed (Google it), which is actually a declaration of faith, without really understanding the depth of its meaning, until the light was switched on. Wow...then I “got it”!

Fast forward a few years. I remember this day so vividly. I was a saved person, still comfortable with the predictable liturgy of a church service, now attending a Methodist church. This church was more relaxed in its Sunday worship and I liked it. I was comfortable with a little more “chill” and less formality until this one Sunday when some guy felt the need to shout “Amen!” in response to something the minister had just said. “What in the world was that?”, I thought to myself, followed by thoughts of, “Who does he think he is?” and, “Where does he come off doing that?” “THE NERVE!” I just didn't “get it”...yet. Little did I know that the Lord was actually using that gentleman to help me grow. I saw his verbal response as an interruption and a distraction, but what I noticed was that no one else seemed to mind, including the pastor.

For many years now, my husband and I have been a part of churches with the freedom to express our love for Jesus through the Biblical ways our pastor has been teaching about lately. These messages on prayer and now worship have been enlightening. I could have used the teaching on saying “amen” in response to hearing truth years ago, but I'm glad to have it now! (Visit www.redhillschurch/messages for the entire series on worship called “The Song”.)

A while ago, my husband did a little digging into the word “amen”. He found out that its Hebrew origin comes from the word for “believe” and literally means firm, stable, established, to believe solidly, and firmly persuaded. In the Greek it carries the same idea along with this: “so it is, may it be fulfilled”. I use to hear people “amen-ing” all kinds of things that were said from the pulpit or in passing conversation with another Christian. It seemed, to me, to be a mindless habit but listen to this: As our pastor taught us, “amen” is to be said in response to a truth we just heard. When we respond with “amen” to what was just said, we are actually setting our faith in agreement with that truth and responding verbally with, “That is solidly, firmly, surely, true, verified and established and may it be fulfilled in me!” I'm careful with what I respond “amen” to, but when I hear a truth that pierces my heart, you will probably hear me shout, AMEN!

-Janice Buckson