WASHINGTON (RNS) — President Barack Obama turned both personal and preachy today during his annual Easter Prayer Breakfast, which he has hosted at the White House six times since he was elected. The long list of Christian leaders attending included Sojourners’ Jim Wallis, National Association of Evangelicals President Leith Anderson, Roman Catholic Cardinal Donald Wuerl, civil rights veteran C.T. Vivian and African Methodist Episcopal Bishop Vashti McKenzie. Amy Butler of New York’s Riverside Church gave the opening prayer.
Obama made four memorable statements during the event:
- “Even as we grapple with the sheer enormity of Jesus’ sacrifice, on Easter we can’t lose sight of the fact that the story didn’t end on Friday,” he said. “The story keeps on going. On Sunday comes the glorious resurrection of our savior.”
- “Today we celebrate the magnificent glory of our risen savior. I pray that we will live up to his example. I pray that I will live up to his example. I fall short so often. Every day I try to do better.”
- He remembered the Gardner C. Taylor, the “dean of American preaching,” who died on Easter Sunday at age 96. “He was a friend of Dr. King who used his spellbinding sermons to spread the gospel and open people’s hearts and minds.”
- “I want to thank everybody here for their prayers, which mean so much to me and Michelle, particularly at a time when my daughters are starting to grow up and starting to go on college visits. I need prayer.”