- (Photo: AP Images / Charles Dharapak)
President Barack Obama and his family made a rare appearance at church on Sunday. The first family attended Sunday morning service at St. John's Church.
With daughters Malia and Sasha, Obama and his wife, Michelle, strolled across Lafayette Square to join an hourlong service at the nearby Episcopal church.
It was the first time in months that the president worshipped in public.
The Rev. Dr. Luis Leon preached that morning on the parable of the dishonest steward.
"Jesus is not endorsing the guy because he's dishonest but because he's shrewd," the rector explained.
Gleaning some truths from the parable, Leon said, "What Jesus is inviting us to consider in being shrewd is that we are called to live our lives beyond the limitations of our surroundings."
"Life has limitations and you have a choice about how you choose to follow the Christ," he preached.
"If there is no change to how you live your life, you have to ask yourself the question 'Have I committed myself at all to follow the Christ or not?'" he posed.
"I think the most honest thing that we can do when we commit ourselves to follow the Christ is this: to commit as much or ourselves as we can to God and to the risen Christ," the rector stated. "Once you decide to follow the Christ, you also commit yourself to grow in the faith, not to remain static in one place."
Obama's visit to the church comes a month after a poll found that fewer Americans believe the president is a Christian. The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life revealed that only 34 percent say Obama is a Christian, down from 48 percent last year, and 18 percent of Americans believe Obama is a Muslim, up from 11 percent.
Meanwhile, 43 percent do not know his religion.
Following the release of the poll, the White House and several pastors, including Joel Hunter of Longwood, Fla., assured the public that Obama is committed to Christ.
More than a year into his presidency, Obama has chosen not to join any specific church community. He has said that he does not want to be disruptive to the city or to churchgoers. He and his family have visited a few local churches during such occasions as Easter and have at times attended Evergreen Chapel at Camp David, the president's country residence in Frederick County, Md.