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365. Amen, Amen

Amen, amen, amen,
amen, amen, amen . . .

See the little baby . . .
lying in a manger . . .
on Christmas morning. . . .

2 See him at the temple . . .
talking to the elders . . .
how they marveled at his wisdom. . . .

3 See him at the seaside . . .
preaching and healing . . .
the blind and feeble. . . .

4 See him in the garden . . .
praying to his Father . . .
in deepest sorrow. . . .

5 Then they crucified him . . .
Jesus our Savior . . .
and he rose on Easter. . . .

*One person sings the stanzas while everyone else continues to sing

Text Information
First Line: See the little baby
Title: Amen, Amen
Refrain First Line: Amen
Meter: irregular
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Topic: Cross of Christ; Epiphany & Ministry of Christ; Songs for Children: Hymns (1 more...)
Source: Afro-American spiritual
Tune Information
Name: AMEN (Spiritual)
Arranger: Richard Smallwood (1981)
Meter: irregular
Key: G Major
Source: Afro-American spiritual
Copyright: © Richard Smallwood

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 1 = Luke 2:6-7
st. 2 = Luke 2:46-47
st. 3 = Mark 3:7-12, Mark 6:53-56
st. 4 = Matt. 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-42, Luke 22:39-46
st. 5 = Matt. 27:32-35, Matt. 28:1, Mark 15:21-26, Mark 16:1-7, Luke 23:26-34, Luke 24:1-8, John 19:16-18, John 20:1-2

A traditional African American spiritual, "Amen" arose from oral tradition; thus different hymnals contain variations in the text. Donald Hustad believes "Amen" probably comes from the twentieth century. With a choral arrangement by long-time promoter of spirituals Jester Hairston, this hymn was the theme song for the film Lilies of the Field (1963) starring Sidney Poitier. The text gives glimpses into Jesus' life: his birth (st. 1); his wisdom as a twelve-year-old, which astounded the temple rulers (st. 2); his preaching and healing ministry (st. 3); his suffering in Gethsemane (st. 4); and his crucifixion and victorious resurrection (st. 5). All text is framed by the repeated "Amen" responses; as we sing we reaffirm that “truly, truly, this is the gospel!”

Liturgical Use:
Christmas Day; Epiphany; Lent; Easter; anytime with children; whenever you need a simple attractive synopsis of Christ's life set to essentially two-part music.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

The traditional call-and-response structure calls for a soloist on the text, with everyone singing the ostinato pattern of "Amens," either in unison or harmony. The soloist may apply rhythmic and melodic freedom to the lines. If possible, sing unaccompanied, or use piano, guitars, and/or string bass for accompaniment rather than organ. Everyone but the soloist should sing without a book in front of them!

The arrangement is by Richard Smallwood (b. Washington, D.C., 1948), a composer, arranger, pianist, and innovator in the African American gospel style. Many of his arrangements of gospel hymns appear in Lift Every Voice and Sing (1981). Organized by Smallwood in 1967, the Richard Smallwood Singers have sung and recorded many of his arrangements. He remains their current director. Smallwood has a B.M. degree from Howard University, Washington, DC.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

MIDI file: MIDI Preview
(Faith Alive Christian Resources)
More media are available on the text authority and tune authority pages.

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