By Mark Ellis
President Barack Obama spoke to faith leaders gathered at the White House April 14 for the annual Easter Prayer Breakfast, affirming his Christian faith.
The President’s affirmation of Easter
He began his remarks with ‘This Easter Week we recognise that there’s a lot of pain and a lot of sin and a lot of tragedy in this world, but we’re also overwhelmed by the grace of an awesome God. We’re reminded how he loves us, so deeply, that he gave his only begotten Son so that we might live through him.’
The president affirmed the true meaning of Easter. ‘And in these Holy Days, we recall all that Jesus endured for us – the scorn of the crowds and the pain of the crucifixion, in our Christian religious tradition we celebrate the glory of the Resurrection – all so that we might be forgiven of our sins and granted everlasting life.’
President Obama noted the message of Easter is still relevant today. ‘More than 2,000 years later, it inspires us still. We are drawn to his timeless teachings, challenged to be worthy of his sacrifice, to emulate as best we can his eternal example to love one another just as he loves us.’
He added, ‘And of course, we’re always reminded each and every day that we fall short of that example. And none of us are free from sin, but we look to his life and strive, knowing that ‘if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us”‘ (1 John 4:12).
Living hope makes a difference
President Obama mentioned a book of the writings of Pope Francis given to him at their meeting in May, The Joy of the Gospel.
A section in the book about the ongoing power of the resurrection stirred the President, ‘There is a passage that speaks to us today: “Christ’s resurrection is not an event of the past; it contains a vital power which has permeated this world.Jesus did not rise in vain. May we never remain on the sidelines of this march of living hope!”‘ he read.
President Obama extended thanks to church leaders at the breakfast. ‘I want to thank you for your ministries, for your good works, for the marching you do for justice and dignity and inclusion, for the ministries that all of you attend to and have helped organise throughout your communities each and every day to feed the hungry and house the homeless and educate children who so desperately need an education.’
‘You have made a difference in so many different ways, not only here in the United States but overseas as well,’ he added.
Mark Ellis is a senior correspondent for ASSIST News Service and founder of Godreports