Image result for amen corner augusta“Shoutin’ On That Amen Corner”

Any golfer or duffer worth his putter is familiar with the name given to the last bend around the 11th, 12th and 13th holes of the Augusta National Golf Course—“Amen Corner”.  In the 1958 Masters, Arnie Palmer won his first major championship with a crucial rule decision coming at that point.  Writing about it in Sports Illustrated, Herbert Warren Wind coined the name, calling it the “Amen Corner” for the first time.  When asked how he came up with the term, Wind said, “I thought I should try to come up with some appropriate name for that far corner of the course where the central action had taken place.  The only phrase I could think of with the word ‘corner’ in it was the title of an old Bluebird record, “Shoutin’ On That Amen Corner”. 

So here we are, making the final turn through this incredible year and looking forward to a new one.  In the light of this divisive and decisive election, I think history will show that these last few months have been a time when “central action” has taken place which will shape our country and our world for good or for ill.  Only time will tell.  Whether we are ready to stand and shout or if we face the bend with foreboding, we will make the turn none the less.  So what is around the corner?  What will this New Year hold?  I am not sure even God knows, but there is one thing I know for sure.  It is a promise from the Psalms which has become one of my favorite verses for this time of year.  The Psalmist says, “My God, in his steadfast love will meet me.”  The Moffett translation gives it an even more meaningful spin:  “My God in his loving kindness will meet me around every corner.”  Interestingly enough, if you read the whole Psalm you discover David is caught up in mortal combat with enemies howling like dogs and King Saul trying to kill him.  Even in the midst of his distress, however, he could claim the promise and in the face of it all he concludes, “But I will sing of your might, I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.  I will sing praises to you, the God who shows me steadfast love.” Even in the face of turmoil and the cry for deliverance, he was still shoutin’ on the amen corner.

I’ve been to the amen corner, haven’t you?

-That sacred turning point where a couple comes together to pledge their lives to each other with a prayer and a promise and a kiss.

-That moment of incredible joy when a new life enters the world through the miracle of birth

-That far corner in the hospital hallway just outside the surgical suite when the nurse says, “This is where we part ways”, and we gather for a brief prayer;

-That last bend of way where we pause at the graveside with one final word of blessing commending our loved ones on their journey into resurrection and new life.

Some of us have turned those corners in 2016 and some of us will face them in 2017.  Sure enough, at the end of one year and the beginning of a new one, the promise stands fast: “My God, in his lovingkindness will meet me at every corner…I will sing aloud of God’s steadfast love in the morning.”

Still shoutin’ at the amen corner,

Jack Harnish