President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump attended a Christmas Eve service at Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea in Palm Beach, Florida, where the commander-in-chief heard a message about the “power of words.”
The Rev. James Harlan reportedly preached about both the power of God’s words as well as man’s after the Trump’s entered the church to cheers and a standing ovation, The Washington Post reported.
“The word of God is more powerful and more transforming than any word you or I could utter,” Harlan said, differentiating between God’s word and the destructive words that sometimes come from man. “God’s word is pure light.”
The reverend of the church Donald Trump attended on Christmas Eve sent the President a powerful message: “Your words can have as much destructive potential as they do healing.”#ChristmasDay pic.twitter.com/6W6OvUaRPs
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) December 25, 2017
The preacher also referenced the late South African leader Nelson Mandela, explaining how Mandela was keenly aware of the power of words.
“Nelson Mandela, the great champion of racial equality in South Africa, was imprisoned for almost three decades for standing up to a government that was repressing, racist and all of that,” Harlan said. “Nelson Mandela knew the power of words.”
Here’s the quote from Mandela that the pastor used as well: “It is never my custom to use words lightly. If 27 years in prison have done anything to us, it was to use the silence of solitude to make us understand how precious words are and how real speech is in its impact on the way people live and die.”
The 10:30 service wasn’t on Trump’s official media schedule, though he and the first lady have been known to attend there. In fact, the couple were married there in 2005 and their son, Barron, was christened inside the church as well, The Palm Beach Post reported.
People are proud to be saying Merry Christmas again. I am proud to have led the charge against the assault of our cherished and beautiful phrase. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 25, 2017
Some speculated that the sermon was somehow a “blunt” message to Trump about the power of his own words and about his tendency to sometimes engage in unpalatable rhetoric.
Bustle, in fact, reported that “the reverend seemed to be speaking directly to Trump in his Christmas sermon.”
Of course, there’s no way to know for sure what Harlan’s intentions were, though the powerful reminder of the power and sway of our words, as Bustle noted — especially in this political and cultural climate — is certainly beneficial to us all.