'The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation.'   Revelation 3:14

For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why we utter the Amen through him, to the glory of God.  2 Corinthians 1:20

I don't know about you but I sometimes go through patches in my life when everything feels very flat and dreary. It's not depression but more a lack of sparkle to everything around me. I turn to my hobbies and they don't feel as full of purpose as they did when I fell upon them with that first flush of enthusiasm. I pick up a book to read and I can't seem to get into it; the story seems uninspiring and I can't concentrate or remember all the characters and their relationships to each other. Even the best TV programmes seem less interesting than usual. Times like this are usually limited in duration and the feeling of apathy passes off. It is probably caused by chemical changes in the brain. It is, nonetheless, quite a disturbing state to be in because even really sad news in the media can leave me feeling very little inside me, even though my head tells me that I should be feeling very distressed. What have these ramblings about apathy got to do with the word Amen? Quite a lot actually.

The word means 'let it be so' or 'so be it'. In fact it almost means 'yes'. When we say it we are affirming what has just been said as truth. The modern equivalent might be the use of expressions such as 'absolutely' or 'right on' or 'too right'. We are all familiar with the conversation which ends with 'well, I'll say amen to that'. The point about the word is that it is used enthusiastically because it is an affirmation, like a slap on the back for what has just been said. It means we agree wholeheartedly and want God and the people around us to know it. Now I know that we have all experienced some of the Amens commonly heard in church services which sound anything but enthusiastic but that is not how it is meant to be.

Jesus calls himself the Amen in the Book of Revelation. He is affirming himself to be the truth, the true and faithful witness. He is the only completely true and faithful witness in world history; he is the truth itself. With him there is no despair, no lack of lustre or sparkle to life. We read that all of God's promises find their Yes in him. Everything that God has promised to followers of Jesus is given through and because of Jesus. When we come to God our Father and ask him to fulfil a promise to us, he says 'yes' because of Jesus. He has never promised that this life will be free of suffering and sadness. Christians are not immune to these things. God's promises in Christ are that he will help us carry our burdens and find strength in times of need. He will comfort us and be alongside us, reminding us how much he loves us. So we offer our prayers to God in the name of Jesus and say 'amen'.

When my children or my grandchildren ask me to help them in some way it is always a pleasure to do so if I can. I am pleased to be asked and can never remember saying 'no' unless agreeing might lead to their harm. It is the same with God, only better. We are his children and he so wants to say 'yes' to us and make our lives fulfilled and joyful. In my experience God never says 'no' provided we pray in sincerity and in earnest. We sometimes ask for the wrong things but even then he seems to show us the right things to ask for instead. It is never a simple 'no'. That is because when we come in the name of Jesus, God's answer is always 'yes'. As Saint Paul said, all God's promises find their Yes in him.

The more that I think about Jesus the more amazing he becomes and life becomes more and more an affirmation. God confirms his love for me again and again and again and every time it happens I can say 'Amen' and 'Amen' and 'Amen'. 'Yes' he does love me and 'Yes', his promises are true. He gave affirmation that he is the truth when he called himself the Amen, the faithful and true witness. I would just say 'yes' and 'amen' to that.

David Langford