I am shocked by today’s apparent terrorist attacks upon the people in the Eastern United States. I join with all of you in mourning these enormous human tragedies. Congregations, pastors and members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) are praying for the comfort of all people affected by these incredible acts. We pray for ELCA staff and their families serving in the areas most affected.
 As Christians, it is important that we behave responsibly at this time and not act harshly. We offer prayers for our leaders, who must reassure a shaken nation and investigate today’s terrible deeds. We pray that those who have been affected most will find comfort and peace in the Lord Jesus Christ. Our first thoughts should be to respond to our fellow human beings with love and compassion.
 In the Psalms, we find these words: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear.”