Great Stuff Found on the Web — The Welcome Sound of the “Amen”

Found on Pastoral Meanderings:


There is perhaps nothing that I enjoy more about the distribution of the Sacrament of the Altar than the sound of the “Amens” that some of the folk say when I say “The Body of Christ for you…”  Would that I heard more of them.  But I thought I was the only one who was encouraged – dare I say energized – by the sound of the “Amens” at the rail.  It turns out I was not.  I have had newcomers to Lutheranism say that they were just as pleasantly surprised by both the sound of these “Amens” at the rail and the effect of hearing them upon their own faith and life.  On a Roman Catholic blog, a convert to Rome remarked how a baptism made his family sit up front and how he, too, was encouraged and delighted to hear the continuous strains of the “Amens” during the distribution.

I would encourage those who do not, to consider it.  I would further encourage us all to make this “Amen” at the rail not simply a perfunctory thing but the true and joyous “Yea, it shall be so” to the gracious gift of God who delivers to us the heavenly grace of the body and blood of Christ hidden there in bread and wine.  Truly this is a blessed sound in the ears of God as well as the ears of those at the rail.  It may not be usual Lutheran practice, usual Lutheran practice not being a universal thing, I vote that we make it such.  Amen! to the body of our Lord.  Amen! to the cup of our Lord.

Lutherans are not well known for being spontaneous or for tossing in an “Amen” to signal our agreement with the preacher and his preaching.  I am not encouraging anything of the sort.  The “Amens” at the rail are the joyful words of faith that are bidden by the gift and grace of God present there and they are the result of the Spirit’s own work in us of faith and trust in what that Word and elements bestow.  So, even if you would never in your life throw out an “Amen” in the sermon, consider an “Amen” at the rail — said to the Lord first and foremost since it is at His bidding you come and His gift you receive, but also to encourage your Pastor who distributes the holy mystery and to uplift those around you at the rail who make their own “Amen” to the Lord.

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