By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — In openly personal terms, President Barack Obama on Tuesday honored the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, saying he draws inspiration from an eternal story of pain, suffering and redemption.
"We are thankful for the sacrifice he gave for the sins of humanity, and we glory in the promise of redemption in the resurrection," Obama told Christian leaders from around the country at an Easter prayer breakfast at the White House.
"Such a promise is one of life's great blessings," the president continued. "As I am continually learning, we are, each of us, imperfect. Each of us errs, by accident or designs. Each of us falls short of how we ought to live. Selfishness and pride are vices that afflict us all."
Obama's comments provided a brief, uncommon opening into how he views his Christian faith. He told the religious leaders that their examples are followed by millions of people. He welcomed them warmly as "my brothers and sisters in Christ" and honored Christ as "our risen savior."
The president spoke in particular of the story of Christ's last words on the cross, quoting this phrase: "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit."
"These words were spoken by our Lord and savior," he said, "but they can just as truly be spoken by every one of us here today. Their meaning can just as truly be lived out by all of God's children. So on this day, let us commit our spirit to the pursuit of a life that is true."