[Editor’s note: This Pastor’s Corner column should have been posted last week. I missed it. I apologize for the delay.]
As a preacher came to the conclusion of a recent sermon, he enthusiastically said, “Let us finish tonight with the word Amen, the word that concludes all the books of the New Testament.” I said Amen with the rest of the congregation, but I couldn’t help flipping through the New Testament to see if he was correct. None of the four gospels conclude with the word Amen, and the book of Acts does not have it either. Of the 14 epistles attributed to Paul, only Romans, First Corinthians, and Galatians have it; of the rest of the New Testament books, 2 Peter has it, Jude has it, and the book of Revelation ends with it, too.
Revelation, the last book of the Bible, has a dramatic conclusion –it recalls the years of the Lord as we know them and the years of preaching that the Kingdom of God was coming. Then we are shown the glory of the New Jerusalem. In fact, there are two Amens at the end of Revelation– one in verse 20 and one in verse 21 (the last verse in the Bible).
This fall I taught 5 classes and before the Christmas celebration, I sent everyone’s grades to the registrar. Most of my students did very well and I am looking forward to reading their evaluation of the professor (which will come in about one month). I also became an Interim Pastor, and I am directly involved in the life of a church again. I am energized by preaching again every Sunday and seeing the progress in the church. I have a folder for each class and one for my sermons and I am putting the last outlines, syllabi, and lecture notes into each one of them. Even though everything is saved on the computer, I feel better to see the completed folders on my shelves testifying to me that 2021 is done.
We do not know when our lives on this earth are concluding, and when we will have the final amen of the last verses of our lives. When we are coming into the presence of Jesus to receive our eternal rewards, we want to hear that sentence: “Well done, good and faithful servant. For you have been faithful in few things, I will put you in charge over many. Enter in the joy of your Master.”
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The end of the year is an excellent time for each one of us to look at what we have done in these past twelve months. A healthy evaluation of every year will prepare us for the final evaluation by the Lord. Saying amen means to affirm all that has come before, so let us together say amen to all the good that has happened this year.