A lot can happen in forty-five seconds. This is a longer amount of time than the play clocks and shot clocks that we are familiar with in most American sports. It’s nearly double the time. Just watch the last forty-five seconds of any NBA game, and you’ll see how much action can happen. The last forty-five seconds of an NFL game? Rings are won and lost in less time. Forty-five seconds is about a third of the time needed for the space shuttle to exit the Earth’s atmosphere about sixty-two miles up. Drive for forty-five seconds with your eyes closed and see how life changes. Forty-five seconds is enough to hear true beauty in a singer’s voice. It’s three times longer than the coveted “Fifteen seconds of fame” and a little longer than most people can hold their breath comfortably. A cup of coffee can be warmed up in forty-five seconds. Forty-five seconds is about how long it takes to read through this first paragraph.
Forty-five seconds is about how long I have as a pastor leading a Sunday morning service to sit at the feet of the cross and receive Jesus’ body and blood given to me by the hands of another at the Lord’s Table. This is his forgiveness spoken into my life through the voice of another, his promises placed tangibly into my mouth, and his claim on me to strengthen and preserve me in the one true faith unto life everlasting. Forty-five seconds.
Pastors, I encourage you to find another who will speak God’s forgiveness into your life regularly. Many of us do not have the luxury of receiving God’s love and forgiveness proclaimed into our ears weekly other than when we hear it in own voice, search it out in the middle of our sermon preparation, or spend those forty-five seconds of a service receiving the Lord’s Supper. We often go without ever hearing anything spoken for us because we are called to speak God’s Word for others. For your heart, health, faith, and life, please find someone who will speak God’s beautiful words of forgiveness for you into your ears, so you remember who you are, dear child of God. You may be the ‘Hitman and Midwife’ of God before your congregation, but before all that, you are his child first and foremost. Sometimes we need to be reminded of that.
Dear Congregation, offer forgiveness to your pastors. They need it. Sometimes there will be changes that need to be made, hardships and separations occur for one reason or another. Offer forgiveness because hurt will happen. We know that forgiveness does not always mean restitution of previous duties in all situations, but forgiveness can still be offered.
Dear Heavenly Father, please give us ample forty-five-second opportunities to offer, or hear, your words of forgiveness through your Son Jesus our Savior. Let the words of your forgiveness flow from our mouths so that all would hear. Let our hearts beat forgiveness as Christ’s blood poured out for us. Let that blood give us strength and faith to hand over forgiveness when it doesn’t make sense. Holy Spirit, fill our breath with your words so that all would come to the knowledge of the truth of your love for your creation and the forgiveness found in Jesus alone.