If I were to ask you what’s the most well-known word in human language, I wonder what you’d say? I’ll give you a hint: it’s a religious word. And it’s a remarkable one. It was transliterated from the original Hebrew into New Testament Greek, and then into Latin and then into English and lots of other languages. It’s used by Muslims as well as Christians and Jews. You may have guessed what it is by now – if you haven’t, I’ll put you out of your misery. It’s the word ‘Amen’.
In the Old Testament, Amen is an acronym meaning “God, King [who is] Reliable, Trustworthy.” So it means every time we say the word ‘Amen’, we have grasped something about the reliability of God. How can we know that God is sovereign, that God is trustworthy, that God is reliable? Well, supremely through the resurrection of Jesus, which we celebrate at Easter.
In that resurrection we see that the love of God, which created us, which sustains us in being, is more powerful than any other force in all creation. But it will overcome pain and evil, will conquer even death itself. In our spoiled world, threatened with disaster as never before as a result of global warming; in our divided nation, still wrangling over Brexit and seemingly no nearer to a solution, we need something reliable. We need look no further than the love of God.
When we’ve grasped something of that love, everything else will be put into a different perspective, a Godly perspective, a joyful perspective, an eternal perspective, an Easter perspective. If we have grasped that then we shall be able to say amen, not just with our lips, but with our whole lives as we reflect some of that reliable, trustworthy love of God in everything that we do and everything that we are.
If we can manage that then a great cheer of ‘Amen’ will go up from heaven, from the heavenly host all rejoicing, not only in the reliable love of God, but in the reliable love that we have for God and neighbour as a reflection of it. May God grant you a joyful and blessed and glorious Easter. Amen!
Rt Revd Dr John Inge
The Bishop of Worcester