There [in your kingdom] we hope to enjoy forever the fullness of your glory,
when you will wipe away every tear from our eyes. For seeing you, our God,
as you are, we shall be like you for all the ages and praise you without end.
Eucharistic Prayer III
While up to my armpits in bubble wrap, I managed to catch a glimpse of a newsy sort
Seems there was a story yesterday about a US Representatives wrapping up the opening
of the new year’s session of Congress with a prayer that he ended by using both
the words “amen” and “a woman”
What the heck???
Then it suddenly dawned on me…tis a new gender-neutral year.
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Democrat from Missouri, made a very poor attempt at a
gender-neutral wording that really had nothing to do with gender.
I actually had to laugh.
Here I am, a mere mortal, wrapping up my home in bubble wrap for a soon to be move
while a holier than thou democratic US Representative thinks he’s using a gender-neutral
ending for a prayer for Congress.
The word Amen has nothing to do with biology…nothing to do with gender.
Nothing to do with a men or a women…
The use of the word Amen, a word that we of the Judeo /Christian tradition are familiar with,
the typical ending of a prayer, is derived from etymology rooted in Hebrew…
“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, From everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen.”
You have often heard the word “Amen” but what does it mean,
and where does it come from? It actually appears a lot more in the Bible than you think –
it’s just that is translated in most cases.
All of these Hebrew words actually derive from the same root as “Amen”:
Emunah – Faith, faithfulness, steadfastness
Amanah – Indeed, correct, for sure, contract
Oman – Artist
Omen – Foster parent
Ne’eman – Faithful
As we can see, the word “Amen” carries within it not only faith, but certainty and steadfastness.
It is often used in psalms, prayers, and blessings as a “yes this is true” or “yes I agree.”
In some cases, the Torah even commands people to say “Amen”
in legal procedures when committing to fulfill something.
We see that especially in Deuteronomy 27,
but also in Numbers 5:22.
In the New Testament, the word “Amen” transcribed from Hebrew into Greek,
is used the same way as in Psalms to end blessings and prayers.
But there is one more use – but only by Jesus himself.
Whenever Jesus says “truly I say to you,” the original Greek actually uses the Hebrew word Amen –
“Amen, I tell you.”
Why in the beginning of the sentence?
And why is it doubled to “Amen, amen I tell you” in the gospel of John?
As Santala points out, “Amen” was used in the times of Jesus in a binding legal way –
and he used that formula to convey spiritual truths about who he is.
He is binding himself under an oath that what he says is true –
also when he says “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”
So oddly it seems that AMEN has nothing about gender.
Eyes now rolling.
So it’s like a lifelong friend recently told me regarding this coming year…
“grab the popcorn, and enjoy the show..who knows what will happen…only God knows.”
2021 is going to quite the ride…
God help us all…AMEN!!!!!
And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the
four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,
“Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might,
be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”