Presidents mark holiday
From President Barack Obama’s 2014 Statement on the Celebration of Passover and Easter:
These holy days have their roots in miracles that took place long ago. And yet, they still inspire us, guide us, and strengthen us today. They remind us of our responsibilities to God and, as God’s children, our responsibilities to one another.
For me, and for countless other Christians, Holy Week and Easter are times for reflection and renewal. We remember the grace of an awesome God, who loves us so deeply that He gave us his only Son, so that we might live through Him. We recall all that Jesus endured for us – the scorn of the crowds, the agony of the cross – all so that we might be forgiven our sins and granted everlasting life. And we recommit ourselves to following His example, to love and serve one another, particularly “the least of these” among us, just as He loves every one of us.
The common thread of humanity that connects us all — not just Christians and Jews, but Muslims and Hindus and Sikhs – is our shared commitment to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. To remember, I am my brother’s keeper. I am my sister’s keeper. Whatever your faith, believer or nonbeliever, there’s no better time to rededicate ourselves to that universal mission.
For me, Easter is a story of hope — a belief in a better day to come, just around the bend.
So to all Christians who are celebrating, from my family to yours, Happy Easter. And to every American, have a joyful weekend.
Thanks, God bless you, and may God bless this country we love.
President Ronald Reagan’s 1981 Statement on the Celebration of Passover and Easter:
This weekend, people across the world will join in holy celebrations, drawing spiritual sustenance from their worship. Here in America, religious beliefs are central to our founding principles. We draw special strength from our unity as a people who trust in God, and from the lessons for us and our children in our rituals.
Saturday night, Jewish people everywhere will sit with their families and friends for the celebration of Passover—a celebration of freedom.
Beginning with the traditional Seder meal, Passover is rich with tradition and symbolism. Its observance reminds us that the fight for freedom and the battle against oppression, waged by Jews throughout their history, is one of which all free people are a part.
Beginning today and culminating on Sunday morning, Christians will celebrate with their families the resurrection of Christ, His victory over death. We will remember that He gave His body and His blood—washing clean the faults and the shortcomings of the world. In our rejoicing we will renew the hope that is ours through the risen Lord.
Nancy joins me in extending to all who celebrate Passover or Easter our warmest wishes for a time filled with joy and spiritual fulfillment and our hope that one day men and women everywhere will be able to worship God in the manner of their choosing.