Last week was a little grammar heavy, so allow me to tell you a little story about the word “Amen.” When I first became a Christian, I didn’t have much experience in church. My family wasn’t religious and I’d been around a little bit just because I liked to sing but my overall experience was pretty slim. I started to pray every night before bed and I knew that you were supposed to close your prayer with “Amen” but I had no clue what that meant, so I was always say “Goodnight, Amen” because Goodnight is what you say when you’re about to sleep.
Cut to my first very bizarre relationship. I went to college at Grove City. They call themselves “authentically Christian” while others might use less kind terms. I adore my alma mater but there were some strange things that happened there like how many students “kissed dating goodbye” which was a book about not casually dating but rather “courting” in hopes of finding the right person to marry. This led to a certain young man wanting to decide how we would educate any potential children before we went on an actual date. (I’m pretty conservative- but there’s no way around that- it’s weird.)
So seeing as his mindset was pretty much marriage from the get-go, he had this idea that he wanted me to be the last person to say “goodnight” to him every single night… apparently for the rest of his life. Another unfortunate thing about this relationship is that I didn’t actually like this young man. Half of our relationship happened while we were home on summer break, so every night he would call me and I would play a little game where I tried to get off the phone before the “goodnights.” I was not what you might call a “good girlfriend.”
Shockingly, we broke up, (after he took me out to the middle of the woods, but that’s a story for a different day) but I started thinking about “goodnight.” You really only say it right before you go to sleep (in comparison to say “have a good night” or similar phrases) and the people you see right before you go to sleep, you are generally quite close to. (Your family, close friends over for a sleepover, your spouse) I told this story at my college Bible study, and we discussed how “goodnight” was related to closeness, even to love. We started using “goodnight” as another way of saying “I love you” which only added to the weirdness of my college experience that I’d leave breakfast telling some of the girls I was closest to “Goodnight!”
Anyway, Amen is from the root that means “to be true.” It’s also related to “Emmitt” which means faithfulness. Essentially, saying “amen at the end of a prayer means “this is true”, “this is faithful to what I feel.” This can be a scary idea when you pray the Lord’s prayer and say “forgive me my debts as we forgive our debtors”- let that be true: even when we sometimes really stink and forgiving our debtors.
But I still say “Goodnight, Amen” at the end of my prayers. I love God. That’s the truth, even when I don’t always act like it. I also sometimes think about how Jon wanted me to be the last person who said “Goodnight” to him, because I feel like God’s the better choice.blog comments powered by Disqus