Sunday, December 11, 2011


In chapel at Paul's college recently, Gary and I did something outlandish. When the pastor started the service by saying, "In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," we said, "Amen."

It seemed to me like a normal thing to do. Nobody else thought it was a normal thing to do.

At the end of the service, we should have realized that we weren't supposed to say "Amen" when the pastor said, "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all." But y'know, it just kinda pops out of your mouth. And then you're the only ones saying it.

It's weird. After all, what does "amen" mean?

Looking at their hymnal, there are places where the congregation sings "amen" after the invocation or benediction. But the rubrics for most of the prayers and blessings put the "amen" in the mouth of the pastor. I thought "amen" was my agreement with the prayer, that this prayer is true and in accordance with God's will ("yes, yes, it shall be so"), that I want here what God wants and promises to give. If the pastor already spoke the prayer, he's saying it, so it's obviously his prayer. But my "amen" says that it's my prayer too.


  1. I try to say "Amen" loudly at the points in the service where you said, also before I leave the communion rail. This has been my practice for at least the last 8 or 9 years. I often get strange looks, especially at a new church or when I don't attend my home church. But what you said in this post is exactly why I say "Amen" loudly. I'm sure it won't be long before my boys are a little embarrassed by my loud Amens, but when they notice it will make me say it even louder!

  2. My husband has taught our congregation to say the Amens. For the first year or two after we arrived he sounded like a Baptist "Can I get an Amen?"

  3. I am the wierdo who says Amen at those times, too. Also, as Ewe says, at the Communion Rail - but, I tend to be a little more reserved in my exclamation. :)

  4. The same thing happened to me at my church a few weeks ago. We came to a perfectly natural (or so I thought) spot to say the Amen, at the end of a Gloria Patri after the Psalm. I heard the gent behind me subsequently comment to his wife: "There's no 'amen' there." Not the most liturgical of churches, but seriously?

  5. I never heard of a Gloria Patri without an amen. Ever.