It's easy to forget that politics is about public service. Between the headlines, sound bites, and snap shots, the depiction that's often portrayed is something altogether different.
With Congress's abysmal 18 percent approval rating, most Americans view those in the profession as self-serving rather than serving the public who put them there.
But as the first session of the 113th Congress officially begins, lawmakers - new and old, Republican and Democrat - were reminded that they are called first to be servants.
In a rare and intimate gathering at St. Peter's Catholic Church on Capitol Hill, House Chaplain Patrick Conroy led a bipartisan prayer service and instructed members to be mindful of that calling.
"Being a member of Congress, and perhaps being a person of faith, is about understanding oneself as a servant," he told CBN News. "Not as a politician or not as a person with power and authority, which all those things are true, but rather to focus on what it would mean to have power and authority as a servant."
After winning re-election as Speaker of the House for a second term, Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, continued on that theme.
"Public service was never meant to be an easy living," Boehner said in his emotional address. "If you have come here humbled by the opportunity to serve; if you have come here to be the determined voice of the people; if you have come here to carry the standard of leadership demanded not just by our constituents but by the times, then you have come to the right place."
Alluding to the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes, Mr. Boehner also said: "There is a time for every purpose under Heaven. For the 113th Congress, it is a time to rise."
Read an excerpt from Chaplain Conroy's interview about the significance of the Bipartisan Prayer Service below:
"I think that things like prayer services, or things like a terrible tragedy like we just experienced that bring people together in something that is a shared or common goal or common experience or common affect are things that call us to our better selves or challenge us to be above the smaller things that separate us ...
When it comes to things like interfaith prayer, I believe we humans unless God convenes the gathering, our attempts pale. So in the wake of the great tragedy in Connecticut, those kind of huge things that bring people together make for powerful interfaith prayer experiences. And something like an election that convenes a Congress, 435 people who are now brought together by something much bigger than their choosing to get together. They're getting together not because they got in touch with one another ...
No, there's something bigger than them, like the voting population of the united states has brought them together. So that coming together, being called together by something much bigger than themselves, I think it's an important time to acknowledge those truths about who we are overtly or publicly. Most people interact with them and with us as the role that we're meeting them someone who's meeting with us because we have position, or because we have power, or because we have authority and not so much because we're servants."
Lawmakers officially kicked off the start of the new session by electing their leaders, including Rep. John Boehner, who will keep his job as Speaker of the House.
While some appeared hopeful, others were not, especially in light of what's on their plate and current public sentiment about politics in Washington.