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Interview with Football Fan Pastor Who Cut Sermon Short So Fans Could Watch the Game

Ralphie Aversa
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A pastor in Butte, Mont. went viral for his seemingly unwavering love of the San Francisco 49ers – even if kickoff conflicts with the start of mass.

The Rev. Tim Christensen preaches at Gold Hill Lutheran Church. He was born and raised in the Bay Area, and his parents still live in San Francisco. On Sunday, his 11 am mass started right when the 49ers kicked off against the Carolina Panthers; a game that would send the winner to the NFC Championship. What is a sermon-offering football fan to do? Apparently, the answer is to keep it brief. More specifically, the pastor hatched a last-second joke to condense the service to about a minute. Pastor Tim told his 18 year-old son to grab his Flip Cam, and off he went to the altar.

“You may not be aware that there is a football game starting in just a few moments,” the pastor informed his congregation after welcoming them to the church. “Not that I have any vested interest in this game or the outcome of that game whatsoever.”

Christensen then floats the idea of the shortened mass.

“Would you all like to be forgiven for your sins?” he asks. The group in the church responds with a resounding “Yes!”

“OK, that’s great, you are.”

The pastor then mentions that he would have spoken about wine and servanthood, but notes he thinks everyone knows what that’s about.

“There’s some bread and wine on the table,” he continues. “Feel free to help yourself.”

Rev. Christensen ends with, “Go in peace to serve and love the Lord.” In Colin Kaepernick fashion, he kisses each forearm, and then reveals that he is wearing a 49ers shirt underneath his cloak.

It would be a total shock if the story ends there. It does not. After some laughter, as well as a bit of jeering from Vikings and Packers fans, Pastor Tim began the full service.

“I preached the good news,” the pastor tells us. “I was talking about Jesus changing the water in to wine; the ordinary in to the extraordinary. I really have a deep respect for my work. I just also have a sense of humor.”

Christensen and family returned home after the service, where the game was waiting on DVR. They watched the broadcast from the pre-game coverage right through to the end, neglecting to check Facebook or text messages.

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