President Barack Obama attended a worship service at Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church before his official swearing-in for his second term. The Rev. Ronald E. Braxton borrowed a theme from Obama’s re-election campaign for his sermon as he advised the president to go “forward” because it is the only option.
Do not allow obstacles to interfere with progress, Braxton told Obama, “where forward is the only option.”
“I’m a witness that the God of Moses, with miraculous power, still moves on behalf of humankind,” Braxton preached, according to pooled press reports. “Forward was the only option.”
Throughout the sermon, Braxton repeated the word “forward” in a call-and-response with worshipers that grew in intensity.
Metropolitan, known as the “National Cathedral of African Methodism,” is one of the most historic churches in the nation. The church also hosted two pre-inaugural prayer services for President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore.
Obama attended the worship service after laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery and before being sworn in at a private ceremony in the White House.
Since Jan. 20, the day designated by the Constitution as the day the president will take the oath of office, falls on a Sunday, there will be two swearing-in ceremonies. Sunday is the official swearing-in whereas Monday’s swearing-in will be symbolic.
Obama was also sworn in twice for his first inauguration because Chief Justice John Roberts fumbled the words for the oath of office the first time. As a result, Obama will be the first president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt to be sworn in four times.
Vice President Joe Biden was also sworn in on Sunday morning with his hand on the Biden family Bible, which has been in the Biden family since 1893. He first worshiped in a private mass at the vice president’s residence before being sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
Sotomayor was selected by Biden. She was the first Hispanic and fourth female to administer an oath of office.