From Sunlen Miller:
President Obama sent his “deepest condolences” to the families and the workers who have lost their lives after the mine explosion in West Virginia.
The president spoke last night on the phone with Governor Machin of West Virginia and told him that the federal government “stands ready to offer whatever assistance is needed,” in the rescue effort.
“At this moment there are still people missing. There are rescue teams that are searching tirelessly and courageously to find them,” the president said from the East Room. “I would ask that the faithful who’ve gathered here this morning pray for the safe return of the missing, the men and women who’ve put their lives on the line to save them, and the souls of those who have been lost in this tragic accident.”
The event in the East Room this morning was a gathering of Christian leaders from all over the country for a small prescheduled Easter Prayer breakfast, including Pastor Joel Osteen and Sister Carol Keehan among others.
The president joked that among the crowd he couldn’t tell them anything about Easter that they don’t already know, but he said he can reflect on what Easter means to him, and the lessons he takes from the story of the Resurrection.
“We are awed by the grace he showed, even to those who would have killed him. We are thankful for the sacrifice he gave for the sins of humanity. And we glory in the promise of redemption in the Resurrection. And such a promise is one of life’s great blessings, because, as I am continually learning, we are, each of us, imperfect each of us errs by accident or by design. Each of us falls short of how we ought to live. And selfishness and pride are vices that afflict us all.”
The president said that as a Christian he believes that the possibility of redemption “can make straight the crookedness of character and make whole the incompleteness of a soul.”
Mr. Obama said that of all the stories passed down through the Gospels – the one that speaks to him this season in particular is the story of Christ’s last words on the cross – in which he quoted, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
“On this day let us commit our spirit to the pursuit of a life that is true, to act justly and to love mercy and walk humbly with the Lord,” Obama said concluding his short remarks before a prayer. “And when we falter, as we will, let redemption, through commitment and through perseverance and through faith, be our abiding hope and fervent prayer.”
On Easter Sunday the Obama family attended church in Washington, DC.