WASHINGTON - President Obama welcomed Christian leaders to the White House Tuesday, including some well-known pastors, for an Easter prayer breakfast.
About 90 pastors gathered in the White House for the event. As he welcomed them, the president embraced redemption in Christ and called it "one of life's great blessings."
Obama was quick to point out this breakfast was just one of many efforts to welcome all faiths to the White House. He has also hosted a dinner marking Ramadan for the Muslims and a seder commemorating the Jews' Passover.
"I can't tell any of you anything about Easter that you don't already know," Obama told those gathered.
But when speaking of Jesus Christ, the president spoke in personal terms, honoring Christ's sacrifice made for all humanity.
"Young man from Nazareth, marched through Jerusalem, object of scorn and derision and abuse and torture by an empire," Obama said. "The agony of crucifixion amid the cries of thieves. The discovery just three days later that would forever alter our world: that the Son of Man was not to be found in His tomb, and that Jesus Christ was risen."
"And we glory in the promise of redemption in the resurrection," Obama said.
"I do think this was a first for the White House and we're glad that this happened," White House Faith-Based head Joshua DuBois said.
As the head of the faith-based office, DuBois was an enthusiastic backer of the Easter breakfast inside the White House.
"This was a wonderful and really historic event," he said of the breakfast. "The president said that he wanted some time where he could sit down with fellow believers and talk about Jesus, and about how the resurrection inspires us to serve the world around us."
"'Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit.' These words were spoken by our Lord and savior, but they can just as truly be spoken by everyone of us here today," Obama said. "Their meaning can just as truly be lived out by all of God's children."
Among the 90 guests here were such names as Pastor Joel Osteen of the Lakewood Church, Pastor Bill Hybels of the Willow Creek Community Church, and Bishop Vashti McKenzie of the A.M.E. Church.
President Obama welcomed all these clergy members as "my brothers and sisters in Christ."