That Little Word “Amen” image

That Little Word “Amen”

The Heidelberg Catechism, for those of us who (not having any confessional standards of our own) treat the Protestant confessions as a glorious pick-and-mix buffet, is probably the warmest, most devotionally uplifting and most pastorally helpful confessional document there is. And in many ways its best parts are the first and last questions.

The first one is fairly well-known, and deservedly so, since it represents the very best of Reformed theology:

Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
A. That I am not my own, but belong - body and soul, in life and in death - to my faithful Saviour, Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.”


But until a few days ago, I had never noticed the beauty, simplicity and pastoral power of the last one. Read this slowly:

Q. What does that little word “Amen” express?
A. “Amen” means: This shall truly and surely be! It is even more sure that God listens to my prayer than that I really desire what I pray for.

Again: glorious.

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