Mandel Ngan//AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Donning their Sunday best, President Barack Obama and his family attended Easter services Sunday morning at St. John’s Church in Washington D.C.
Located a block away from the White House, the protestant Episcopal parish is a frequent visit for Obama and past presidents. A casual stroll through Lafayette Park will bring you to the historic house of worship in minutes.
The president, first lady Michelle Obama, and daughters Sasha and Malia were seated about six pews back from the pulpit of Rev. Luis Leon, whose sermon reflected on the uncertain state of world affairs as they related to the faith.
Citing a recent New York Times article, the pastor said a new renaissance in Somalia’s capital could be seen as an allegory of rebirth.
“Now you may say, ‘They’re all Muslim.’ But so what? That is evidence of the resurrection,” he said.
Reverend Leon told the congregation the Christian faith was designed for times like these.
“Everything doesn’t get fixed right away,” he said, and implored parishioners not to give up.
As Christians and Jews observe Easter or Passover this weekend, Obama reflected on the meaning of the holidays in his weekly address.
Stating he was committed to the Christian tenet of living through Jesus’ example, the president said Christ’s doctrine of selflessness could be shared by anyone.
“All of us, no matter how or whether we believe, can identify with elements of his story,” he said. “The triumph of hope over despair. Of faith over doubt. The notion that there is something out there that is bigger than ourselves.”
Obama said the religious weekend is a reminder “of the common thread of humanity that connects us all.”
The statement dovetails with a White House prayer breakfast and Seder dinner with friends of the Obama family last week.
Today is the Obama family’s second Easter visit to St. John’s, having attended holiday services there in 2009. In consecutive years the family had visited historically black churches in Washington for the occasion.
President Obama and his family frequently rotate through a number of churches in the District, having never committed membership to a sole congregation.
It was the same for former presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.
At least one predecessor, Richard Nixon, actually held Sunday service in the White House itself.
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