The U.S. Capitol Visitor Center
Washington, D.C.

9:33 A.M. EST

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Thank you all.  Please have a seat.  Thank you, Mike.  It was a pleasure to work with you in the United States Senate.  And I want to thank you for your grace and your wisdom and your friendship.  And, yes, we piled into that station wagon — (laughs) — going to church.  So we have many things in common.

So good morning, everyone.  Good morning.  Good morning.  I want to thank you, Mike, Kirsten, the whole group for organizing this breakfast.  Congressman Conor Lamb.  Congressman Tim Walberg, you as well.

And, of course, it is an honor to be here with these members of Congress, with faith leaders from across our country, and of course, with our President, who is, as we all know, a leader of unending faith.

So, over the past two years, so many among us have lost loved ones.  So many parents have struggled.  All of us have had a loss of a sense of normalcy.

And the spiritual weight of it all has indeed been great.  Our faith has indeed been tested.  But it is that same faith — our faith in God, our faith in humanity, and our faith in what is possible — it is that same faith that I know has seen us through, that has helped us to see the light in one another.

You know, last March, I paid a visit to a food bank in Nevada.  And the families there were waiting for hours at a time in their cars to receive a box of groceries.  And when they drive up, the volunteers there would stand there, the driver would pop open the trunk, and the volunteer would put a box of food in the car.

And invariably, as the volunteers explained and they described it to me, in the middle of that empty trunk, the volunteer would see a handwritten note sitting in the trunk written out to the volunteers to thank them for their labor, for their work.  The volunteers would describe that sometimes that trunk would pull — pop open that empty trunk and there’d be a five- or a ten-dollar bill.

Now, let us be clear: The driver of that car was very likely just barely holding everything together or could have
lost everything they have, but they still showed such remarkable kindness, such generosity when they seemingly had nothing to give.  Such grace.

It is said a candle shines brightness and most brightly in the darkness.  I believe the same is true of faith.  And it is that faith that fuels me to say now and often as I do — so many times — that let us see, always guided by our faith — let us be able to see what can be, unburdened by what has been.  

And those words have deep spiritual roots for me.  I grew up attending 23rd Avenue Church of God in Oakland, California.  And one of the important places there is where I learned to believe in what is possible and that we each have the ability to achieve what is possible.

After all, as I know we have all learned and been taught, faith is not passive.  Faith motivates action.  It lifts us up, and it gives us purpose.

I am blessed to have worshipped over the years with many pastors, one of whom recently reminded me of the story of Nehemiah.

Nehemiah, as we all know, was neither a priest nor a prophet; he was a city official.  After Jerusalem was burned and broken, Nehemiah told the people, “Let us rise up and build.”  And they did.  Their faith allowed them to see what was possible and to see how to make it so.

That, I believe, is the faith that we as a nation must and do summon today. 

So, I will end with a simple prayer: God, grant us faith, not only in you, but in one another.  Let us be kind.  Let us be generous.  Let us be full of grace.  Let us see the light in all your people and be guided by that light for all our days. 

God, may you bless us all and may you bless the United States of America.

Thank you.   (Applause.)

                               END                 9:38 A.M. EST

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