President Barack Obama spoke about the significance of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection in his own life and that of other Christians as he offered his greetings to all those celebrating Easter and Passover this weekend across the United States.
"For me, and for countless other Christians, Easter weekend is a time to reflect and rejoice," the President said during his weekly address Saturday.
On Good Friday, he said, "many of us took a few quiet moments to try and fathom the tremendous sacrifice Jesus made for all of us." On Easter, he added, "we will celebrate the resurrection of a savior who died so that we might live." Easter is a celebration of "redemption at God's hand."
The President also acknowledged that Jews would gather Saturday for a second Seder and retell the story of the Exodus.
"And tomorrow, my family will join Christians around the world as we thank God for the all-important gift of grace through the resurrection of His son, and experience the wonder of Easter morning," he said. These holidays, the President added, were rooted in "miracles" in the history. "They connect us to our past and give us strength as we face the future."
At the annual Easter Prayer Breakfast Wednesday morning, Obama recounted what Jesus said: "In this world, you will have trouble," and said the story of Christ's agony and resurrection had helped him over the tough moments of an embattled presidency, according to The Associated Press.
Obama on Saturday said these sacred days could be a time to recommit ourselves to following Jesus' example. "We rededicate our time on Earth to selflessness, and to loving our neighbors. We remind ourselves that no matter who we are, or how much we achieve, we each stand humbled before an almighty God."
He said the miracles behind Easter also remind us of "the common thread of humanity" that connects us all. "Christ's triumph over death holds special meaning for Christians. But 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."
Obama 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."
Obama and his wife, Michelle, wished a blessed and Happy Easter "to all Christians celebrating the Resurrection with us." Others, he hoped, would have a weekend "filled with joy and reflection, focused on the things that matter most."
Obama and his family were members of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Ill., before his presidential run. Since then, the Obamas have not found a home church.