How do you say 'amen'? Is your 'a' long like you are saying "ah" at the doctor while she directs that pointy light tool at the back of your throat?

Or is your 'a' short like the letter at the beginning of the alphabet?

Sometime in the last 200 years, the short alphabet 'a' joined the long doctor's office 'a' as an acceptable form of pronunciation. The meaning didn't change, but how you said your amen's became a subtle clue about the origins of your religion.

No matter how you say amen, the definition is still more interesting. The closest we can get to it in English is "so be it." That's why a "aye-men" or "ah-men" appears at the end of prayers, affirmations of faith, and acclimations of praise.

Amen is a conclusive accent to our prayers and an admission that our words are directed towards the ineffable other - somebody that does not work for us, can't be manipulated, and was an "it" before we were an "I". Furthermore, the other will remain forever and ever, unlike us.

Amen is an admission that there is a power at work within us and apart from us that is mysterious and obvious at the same time. The paradox may be uncomfortable, but what choice do we have? So then, prayer is an infinite array of "so be it's". Prayer is how we learn to live with our lack of control.

During the season of Lent we will creep through the Lord's Prayer over five consecutive Sundays. Hopefully, when we are done, we will find it easier to pronounce "so be it" with our lives.

See below for more information about Lent and Easter at DOWNTOWN CHURCH.

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  • Ash Wednesday: February 18
  • Palm Sunday: March 29
  • Maundy Thursday: April 2
  • Easter Sunday: April 5