Some psalms, hymns, or spiritual songs make a lasting impression on you at a certain time in your life. Different events or situations in life can leave you hanging onto the melodies and lyrics of the song. Sometimes the song can run so deep that it stays with you for a lifetime and resurfaces along life’s journey. It sparks emotions you didn’t know were still there.
One song that has done all the above for me is the African-American spiritual “Amen, Amen,” arranged by choir director, organist, and pianist Nelsie T. Johnson in 1988. It was sung as the closing song of the 1963 film Lilies of the Field, starring Sidney Portier. It is an awesome song to sing at any time of the year. What makes this such a special song to me is that it walks through the gospel or the good news about Jesus from his birth through his ministry, suffering, death, and resurrection.
When I was a child, my cousins, brother, and I would sing this song every Christmas Eve at the home of our Aunt Pearl. I enjoyed it because of the cadence and clapping, not to mention that if we all sang it together, we received a special treat after the last note was sung. As children, we sang to get that treat, which lasted until we ate it up or drank it down. As teenagers, we continued this tradition after coming from church.
In adulthood, the clapping, the rhythm, and the amens took a backseat to the words and the story about my Savior. It is one that I want to continue telling.
In preparation for a Christmas service several years ago, my thoughts crept back to the fun times of childhood singing and clapping to this song on the living room floor. I wondered how I could share a piece of my joy and encouragement with others.
Answer: Find the music and words, sing it, and share it with others. So, that is what I did. My daughter and her friend sang it as a duet, and later I and a young man in the congregation did the same. Now some members want to sing it every Christmas because they too have come to enjoy it.
I encourage you to share songs that have been a source of sweet memories and a blessing to you with others. In doing so, you may have them saying and singing, “Amen to that!”
Refrain: Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen
(Sing continuously under the verses)
- See the little baby
Lying in a manger
On Christmas morning
- See him in the temple
Talking with the elders.
How they all marveled!
- See him at the seashore
Preaching to the people,
Healing all the sick ones!
- See him in the garden
Praying to the Father
In deepest sorrow!
- See him on the cross
Bearing all my sins
In bitter agony.
- Yes, he died to save us
And he rose on Easter,
Now he lives forever!
Jesus is my Savior
For he lives forever!
Lyrics © Original Writer and Publisher, lyricsondemand.com/christmascarols/a/amenlyrics.html
Author: Snowden Sims
Volume 108, Number 4
Issue: April 2021
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