In a surprising move, President Barack Obama wrote a short letter today, Ash Wednesday, offering prayers for persecuted Christians. Yes, I too am surprised that he has said this, given his reputation for remaining silent on the persecution of Christians in name. We can’t say that anymore. Though I do hope in the future he will bring it up more in name.
“Today, Michelle and I join our fellow Christians in marking Ash Wednesday. Lent is a season of reflection, repentance and renewal, a time to rededicate ourselves to God and one another. We remember the sacrifice and suffering of Jesus Christ. We pray for all those who suffer, including those Christians who are subjected to unspeakable violence and persecution for their faith. And we join millions here at home and around the world in giving thanks for this sacred and solemn season that guides us toward the Easter celebration.”
I am shocked twofold, not just because Obama calls out the persecution of Christians in name, but because he actually sounds Catholic in talking about Ash Wednesday, Lent and Easter as “a season of reflection, repentance and renewal, a time to rededicate ourselves to God”, to “remember the sacrifice and suffering of Jesus Christ” and Lent being a “sacred and solemn season that guides us toward the Easter celebration.” It gets me thinking: it’s easy to criticize politicians, but harder to pray for their conversion. We get caught up in criticized, myself included, and often forget to pray for them.
The letter comes from here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/02/10/statement-president-ash-wednesday