President Barack Obama on Tuesday used an Easter prayer breakfast at the White House to give his personal testament of faith and how the saga of Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection has inspired him.
Obama, who has hosted a Jewish Seder and a Muslim Iftar ceremony, used the breakfast for Christian leaders to show a side rarely seen, his personal beliefs.
“I’m particularly blessed to welcome you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, for this Easter breakfast,” he told the clergy. “I wanted to join you for a brief moment today to continue the Easter celebration of our risen savior, and to reflect on the work to which His promise calls all of us.”
Religion and politics have long been a heady mix. Obama, as a candidate, was caught in a dispute over anti-American comments by his former minister, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. In a widely hailed speech in Philadelphia, Obama tried to explain Wright’s anger and why that was part of the African-American experience. Wright eventually severed his ties to the campaign.
But on Tuesday, it was a personal Obama who explained the example of the resurrection story.
“Even after the passage of 2,000 years, we can still picture the moment in our mind’s eye,” Obama recounted.
“The young man from Nazareth marched through Jerusalem, object of scorn and derision and abuse and torture by an empire. The agony of crucifixion amid the cries of thieves. The discovery, just three days later, that would forever alter our world – that the Son of Man was not to be found in His tomb and that Jesus Christ had risen.
“We are awed by the grace He showed even to those who would have killed Him. We are thankful for the sacrifice He gave for the sins of humanity. And we glory in the promise of redemption in the resurrection,” the president said.