I love Resurrection Sunday, and always have. It is always associated with some of the most beautiful days of my life, and among the saddest. I hope that Easter was a great blessing to each of you. I went to celebrate Easter with some friends at their church, and I had the chance to re-meet friends from decades ago. The sermon by Pastor Roger was taken from I Kings 17 and dealt with hope and God’s great love, perfect topics for Easter. At the worship service, some were baptized, but before their baptism, they shared their testimonies of how Jesus Christ had transformed their lives. So Easter blessed and encouraged me, but most importantly, I had the chance to thank God for His great salvation in Jesus Christ. I am sure that you were also blessed with a wonderful message, majestic and inspiring music, and a worship service that glorified a loving God who raised His only begotten Son on the first Easter morning to redeem sinners.
But who would expect to hear hate speech at church on Easter Sunday? Sadly, President Obama and his family did. Yesterday morning, the President and his family went to Easter Sunday services at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. According to the White House pool reporter who noted that the Rev. Dr. Luis Leon’s sermon had this little spiritual gem: “It drives me crazy when the captains of the religious right are always calling us back … for blacks to be back in the back of the bus … for women to be back in the kitchen … for immigrants to be back on their side of the border.” Have you ever heard a “captain” of the religious right say such things? I never have. Further, I actually have no clue who that might be really. And if the captains exist, who are the colonels and generals? But it sounded like hate speech to me. Perhaps the President never realized that he was short-changed on Easter morning. I am just glad that I wasn’t, and that you weren’t either.