When I was a kid–in the early 90’s–I remember Brazil going to the volleyball Olympics Finals against Holland. We had a dream team. In those days Brazil was not known as the volleyball powerhouse it is today. My father, a Baptist minister, had to make a decision. In some parts of Brazil, churches meet in the morning for Sunday School and re-gather at evening for the main service. Such was our situation. The problem was Sunday School started precisely at the start of the final match. My father cancelled Sunday School. Fortunately, Brazil won, otherwise his parishioners would have attributed our defeat to God’s curse on the minister. I never forgot that Sunday. Of course, we gathered as usual in the evening and the worship was grand.
The corporate gathering is far more significant to a Sunday School class, though SS is an important learning time for the body. My father later regretted his decision.
In the years following I have seen churches cancel Sunday Worship for all sorts of reasons: Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. There are legitimate reasons to do so, especially if you live in Florida as I do during hurricane season.
Almost twenty years later, I am following in my father’s footsteps as a minister. I could not imagine a Sunday without worship. I even edited a book entitled The Church Friendly Family encouraging individual families to see the primacy of worship and the church in their lives.
And then I heard of this.
My first reaction was one of frustration. “Here I am trying to establish a grand vision of worship to my people and this Lutheran–of all people–decides to allow his football passion to trivialize the worship of the most high God.” Anyone who knows me knows that I have a special affection for Lutherans. One of my best friends is a Lutheran minister. So when this Lutheran fellow summarized the entire divine liturgy into a minute I felt betrayed. The dilemma was described this way:
“Pastor Tim Christensen, of Butte, Mont., found himself with that dilemma during his 11am service on Sunday. With just minutes before kickoff between his 49ers and the Panthers, he decided to condense his service.”a
The video got a tremendous amount of publicity nation-wide. But this fine good-humored pastor did not betray the congregation. When discovering the tremendous publicity the video received he said humorously remarked:
“The one thing about the video I hate is I look incredibly fat, but I’m wearing a large double-pocketed hoodie underneath.” b
The 53-year-old acted honorably as a Lutheran minister and returned to the sanctuary after his trick play and conducted the standard hour-long service. “He said some members offered to give him updates, but the pastor had the game set on his DVR and he watched it in its entirety – including pregame – when he got home. He was rewarded with a 23-10 victory.” c
Though I find the excessive use of sports’ references on Sunday morning disturbing, I give this fellow minister a standard Christian greeting: the Lord bless you.
- http://www.dailydot.com/lol/football-shortest-service-49ers-pastor-playoff/ (back)
- Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/video-pastor-conducts-quick-service-catch-49ers-game-article-1.1579092#ixzz2qmBpt2xt (back)
- Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/video-pastor-conducts-quick-service-catch-49ers-game-article-1.1579092#ixzz2qmC2c5xD (back)