Entries in Easter (4)


President Obama Attends Easter Service at St. Johns

Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Dressed in their Easter Sunday best, President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughters, Malia and Sasha, attended an Easter Sunday service at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C.

The first family made the short walk from the White House across Lafayette Park to St. John’s, known as the “Church of the Presidents.”

“Happy Easter everybody. Happy Easter,” the president said to the press as he walked across the park.

When the president entered the church, many in the congregation stood and applauded him with some calling out “Happy Easter” to the family.

The president heard a sermon by the Rev. Dr. Luis Leon, who told the congregation it is acceptable to have doubts about their faith, but it is important not to dwell in the past.

“When we dwell on the past, when we dwell on the if onlys of life, we forget that God addresses us in the now,” Leon said.

The sermon turned slightly political when Leon said that there are some members of the religious right who are trying to pull people back rather than letting them move forward.

“The captains of the religious right are always calling us back, back back. For blacks to be back in the back of the bus, for women to be back in the kitchen, for gays to be in the closet and for immigrants to be on their side of the border,” Leon said. “What you and I understand is that when Jesus says you can’t hang onto me, he says you know it’s not about the past, it’s not about the before, it’s not about the way things were but about the way things can be in the now.”

“Will you accept the invitation from our gospel today to see things with Easter vision, recognizing reality in a different and new and wonderful way?” he later added. “Today the choice is yours.  Jesus Christ is risen today. That’s the proclamation.  May god bless you with Easter vision now and forever. Amen.”

But it wasn’t just a sermon about faith.  The president also heard some smack talk about baseball when the reverend shared his views on the New York Yankees.

“I promised myself that I wouldn’t say anything about baseball today, but I can’t…The last time that I said that I hated the Yankees I got into a lot of trouble, so today I’m not going to say that I hate the Yankees, and it’s hard to hate a team that is falling apart,” Leon said as the congregation laughed. ”A-Rod’s got a bummed knee.  Jeter’s on the DL. Teixeira’s got a bad, a bad wrist, I think. Granderson can’t run and they’re closer is about 55 years old so I figure why bash on people while they’re down.”

President Obama, the first lady and his daughters each took Holy Communion, and as they sat in their pew, they greeted congregants who were in the aisles for communion.

As the first family walked out of the church, a light sprinkle of rain fell, but the president chose not to take the short motorcade back to the White House, saying instead “We’re going to walk!”

This marked the president’s third visit to St. John’s for an Easter service.  The president and his family celebrated Easter at the Episcopalian church in 2009 and 2012.

In his weekly address, the president called for prayer and reflection over this Easter and Passover weekend.

“In the midst of all of our busy and noisy lives, these holy days afford us the precious opportunity to slow down and spend some quiet moments in prayer and reflection,” Obama said.  

“This weekend, I hope we’re all able to take a moment to pause and reflect, to embrace our loved ones, to give thanks for our blessings, to rededicate ourselves to interests larger than our own,” he said. “And to all the Christian families who are celebrating the Resurrection, Michelle and I wish you a blessed and joyful Easter.”

On Monday, the president and first family will host hundreds of Americans at the White House for the annual Easter Egg Roll, and on Friday, the president will participate in the Easter Prayer Breakfast at the White House.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Obama’s Weekly Address: Easter and Passover Reflections

Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images (WASHINGTON) -- Reflecting on the meaning of Easter and Passover, President Obama said both holidays “remind us of the common thread of humanity that connects us all.”

“These holidays have their roots in miracles that took place thousands of years ago. They connect us to our past and give us strength as we face the future,” the president said in his weekly address.

As a Christian, Obama said Easter is a time to “reflect and rejoice” and recommit oneself to following Christ’s example.

“We rededicate our time on Earth to selflessness, and to loving our neighbors,” he said. “We remind ourselves that no matter who we are or how much we achieve, we each stand humbled before an almighty God.”

“All of us, no matter how or whether we believe, can identify with elements of His story – the triumph of hope over despair, of faith over doubt, the notion that there is something out there that is bigger than ourselves,” he said. “These beliefs help unite Americans of all faiths and backgrounds. They shape our values and guide our work. They put our lives in perspective.”

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Says Easter Story Puts His Challenges In Perspective

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Reflecting on his Christian faith, President Obama said Wednesday that the story of Easter puts the challenges he faces into perspective and inspires him to overcome troubled times.

“We all have experiences that shake our faith.  There are times where we have questions for God’s plan relative to us but that’s precisely when we should remember Christ’s own doubts and eventually his own triumph,” the president explained at an Easter prayer breakfast at the White House.

Obama went on to read from the book of John, quoting Jesus saying “In this world, you will have trouble.” The line received an “Amen” from the audience of Christian leaders, inciting laughter from the president.

“I heard an amen,” he said chuckling. “Let me repeat.  ‘In this world, you will have trouble.’”

“Amen” the audience repeated.

“‘But take heart!’”  the president said through laughter as he continued to quote the scripture.  “’I have overcome the world.’ We are here today to celebrate that glorious overcoming, the sacrifice of a risen savior who died so that we might live.  And I hope that our time together this morning will strengthen us individually, as believers, and as a nation.”  

The president suggested that Christ overcame fears that make today’s challenges seem small by comparison. “The struggle to fathom that unfathomable sacrifice makes Easter all the more meaningful to all of us.  It helps us to provide an eternal perspective to whatever temporal challenges we face.  It puts in perspective our small problems relative to the big problems He was dealing with.  And it gives us courage and it gives us hope,” he said.

The president opened the annual breakfast joking that the event marked “the calm before the storm” of next Monday’s Easter Egg Roll. “In less than a week, this house will be overrun by thousands of kids,” he quipped. “So I wanted to get together with you for a little prayer and reflection.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


First Family Attends Easter Service

Annie Leibovitz/Released by White House Photo Office/File(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama and the rest of the first family attended Easter service at a church in northwest Washington, D.C. Sunday.

The president along with wife Michelle, and their two kids Sasha and Malia, attended service at the Shiloh Baptist Church, a historically black church located not too far from the White House. Since moving to D.C. the Obamas have not picked a church to consistently attend, as President Obama said that his attendance would be disruptive to services.

Prior to Sunday’s church attendance, the last time the Obamas attended service was in January just before Martin Luther King Day at the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church.

In 2010, the first family attended Easter service at Allen Chapel AME in southeast, Washington, DC. The selection of that church was not insignificant, as days before the Obamas made their visit, the neighborhood was shaken by a drive-by shooting that took the lives of four teenagers.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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