Greg Asimakoupoulos at the White House entry. Courtesy photo

Greg Asimakoupoulos at the White House entry. Courtesy photo

Reflections on a White House visit | On Faith

The inhabitants of the White House aren’t the only ones on God’s radar.

I will never forget my first visit to Washington DC. I was 17 years old and traveling with a choir of high school-aged kids from various churches in our state. We visited Arlington Cemetery, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and the Smithsonian.

The highlight of the visit, however, was singing in the rotunda of the U.S. capitol for one of our senators. As Henry “Scoop” Jackson looked on, we belted out the words to “This is My Country.”

Now 49 years later, I had the opportunity to tour our nation’s capitol again. Mr. Lincoln, seated on his throne, is just as imposing as I remembered him. The Marine Corps Memorial at Arlington Cemetery recalling the flag planting at Iwo Jima remains a must-see.

But much has changed since the summer of 1969. There are several memorials that have been added: The Vietnam Wall, the World War 2 and Korean War Memorials and the MLK statue. The Newseum was an exceptional repository chronicling the way news has been reported through the centuries. As a news junkie, I was fascinated by the history of American media including newspapers, radio and television.

But the highlight of this summer’s visit was touring the White House. Although we had driven by it in 1969, I had never set foot in it until this trip. A Congressman friend helped my wife and I secure tickets to see the historic home of our nation’s First Family. It was a dream come true.

As we stood in the first-floor rooms of the president’s residence, I imagined the presidents of my lifetime who have walked these same halls. Beginning with Truman all the way to Trump, I pictured leaders of the free world entertaining their counterparts. The portraits on the walls called to mind chief executives who challenged the status quo and effected positive change as well as those who stumbled ethically and morally.

Our hour-long self-guided tour of the White House reminded me that presidents come and go and yet this elegant home symbolizes a lasting democracy. Our visit was a memory jogger that all presidents have their strengths and their weaknesses. Each one stands in need of God’s wisdom and blessing. Each one is vulnerable to their own ego and our prejudice. No wonder St. Paul entreats the Christians of the first century to intercede for those in authority.

But then a thought occurred to me.

While the Scriptures entreat us to pray for governmental leaders, the inhabitants of the White House aren’t the only ones on God’s radar. The Creator is just as concerned about those who occupy your house and mine. In fact, the long-term health of our nation will most likely be determined by the moral condition of those governed as much as by the integrity (or lack thereof) of those who govern.

Reflecting on my visit to the White House, I have a renewed commitment to seek Divine guidance on behalf of our president. But that is not the only action step I can take. I can also decide on a daily basis to follow the advice of the Hebrew prophet Micah. “To do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.”

Rev. Greg Asimakoupoulos is the full-time chaplain at Covenant Shores Retirement Community on Mercer Island. He is the faith and values columnist for the Mercer Island Reporter and contributes original poetry each Blue Friday to KOMO news radio.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@mi-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.mi-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

Greg Asimakoupoulos sings “This is My Country” with his peers during a trip to Washington DC in 1969. Courtesy photo

Greg Asimakoupoulos sings “This is My Country” with his peers during a trip to Washington DC in 1969. Courtesy photo

More in Opinion

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
2022 Legislature is on the horizon – here’s what to expect | Roegner

The upcoming session of the Washington state Legislature will be the short… Continue reading

Rich Elfers, “In Focus”
Do we take our neighboring nations for granted? | In Focus

Does the United States take Canada and Mexico for granted? The United… Continue reading

Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He retired as president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and lives in Vancouver. He can be contacted at thebrunells@msn.com.
Honoring heroes goes beyond lowering flags to half-mast | Brunell

Lowering our flags to half-staff seems to be an all too familiar… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Public safety takes centerstage in local elections | Roegner

In Seattle and most suburban cities, the overwhelming message was that the… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Washington’s secretary of state leaves big shoes to fill | Roegner

Secretary of State Kim Wyman recently announced she will leave her state… Continue reading

Dr. Jayendrina Singha Ray serves as Faculty of English at Highline College. Her research interests include postcolonial studies, spatial literary studies, British literature, and rhetoric and composition. Prior to teaching in the U.S., she worked as an editor with Routledge and taught English at colleges in India.
What the Afghan wants to say: A story of resettlement | Guest column

The wind is strong. It carries the colored leaves of fall to… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
The rest of the story: Sound Transit, Rolovich and Lambert | Roegner

All of the reporters I know are ethical and trustworthy. But I… Continue reading

Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He retired as president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and lives in Vancouver. He can be contacted at thebrunells@msn.com.
When it comes to power, Washington may be falling behind | Brunell

For years, Washington state masked its high business and regulatory costs with… Continue reading

tsr
Domestic violence victims need more housing options

Column: As a result of stay-at-home measures from the pandemic, domestic violence rates have worsened in King County.

Guest columnist Greg Asimakoupoulos is chaplain at Covenant Living at the Shores in Mercer Island.
Calendars help us to number our days | Guest column

It wasn’t until I was out of seminary and serving my first… Continue reading

Email editor@mi-reporter.com
Even more Mercer Island candidate letters | Election 2021

Editor’s note: Due to the volume of letters endorsing Mercer Island candidates… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
A look at city council races around the region | Roegner

Hot contests in Mercer Island and Bellevue.