President Barack Obama joined religious leaders on Thursday for an interfaith service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston, Massachusetts. During his address, he delivered an inspirational message that invoked Christian scripture, while also pledging to find and punish the parties responsible for Monday’s attack.
“Scripture tells us to run with endurance the race that is set before us,” Obama said, referencing Hebrews 12:1. “On Monday morning, the sun rose over Boston, the sunlight glistened off the statehouse dome and the common and the public garden. Spring was in bloom.”
After describing the day’s start as a bright and beautiful one, he noted that the spirit and excitement of Patriots’ Day (the celebration marking the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first military clashes of the Revolutionary War) and the Boston Marathon was quickly cut short by unimaginable horror.
“And then in an instant the day’s beauty was shattered — a celebration became a tragedy,” the president said. “And so we come together to pray and mourn and measure our loss — but we also come together today to reclaim that state of grace. To reaffirm that the spirit of this city is un-daunting.”
Noting that every American has been touched by the tragedy, Obama praised Boston as an “iconic city” and one of the most welcoming locations for immigrants and outsiders, alike. Citing his own experience as a student at Harvard Law School and his wife Michelle’s as well, the president noted a personal connection to the area.
“You welcomed me during a convention when I was still a state senator and very few people could pronounce my name right,” he quipped, referring to his experience at the 2004 Democratic Convention. ”For millions of us, what happened on Monday was personal.”
Obama mentioned the victims who perished by name and offered prayers for the injured — many of whom are still hospitalized and undergoing surgeries.
“We will all be with you as you learn to stand, and walk and run again — of that I have no doubt you will run again. You will run again, ’cause that’s what the people of Boston are made of,” the president continued. “Your resolve is the greatest rebuke to whoever created this heinous act.”
Watch this portion of Obama’s address, below:
The president also issued a message for the terrorists behind the attack, saying that they will be found — and that their acts will be met with punishment. Obama quoted scripture, again, noting that it teaches that “God has not given us a spirit of fear of timidity, but of power, love and self discipline” (referencing 2 Timothy 1:7).
“Yes we will find you and yes you will face justice. We will find you, we will hold you accountable, but more than that our fidelity to our way of life — to our free and open society will only grow stronger,” he added. “We may be momentarily knocked off our feet, but we’ll pick ourselves up, we’ll keep going. We will finish the race.”
Obama concluded his speech, again mentioning the Hebrews verse about running with endurance — an appropriate Biblical mention, considering Monday’s tragic events.
“Scripture tells us to run with endurance the race that is set before us. As we do, may God hold close those who have been taken from us too soon,” he said. “May He comfort their families. And may He continue to watch over these United States of America.”
The president’s entire speech can be viewed, below:
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