The Rev. Derrick Harkins sermon at the 19th Street Baptist Church on Sunday, Sept. 11 came from Psalm 46. The Northwest Washington congregation, which is actually located on 16th street, was filled with more than 400 people as he spoke from the title “On the Far Side of Trouble.”

Harkins said his message was partly inspired the presence of family members of Army Major Malcolm Patterson, who perished at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. Below are some excerpts from the sermon and his reflections on them.

“Psalm 46 is a strong biblical passage that reminds us that even in the face of trouble, God is our refuge and strength.”

“I talked about the fact that the bible doesn’t talk about the absence of calamity, but God promises his presence in trying times. Sept. 11 was not the first, and sadly it will not be the last time we will see inhuman acts, but we always can depend on God’s presence when tragedy strikes.”

In his text, Harkins quoted from writing on the walls inside the Auschwitz Concentration Camp: ”I believe in the sun even when it is not shining. I believe in Love, even when I alone. I believe in God, even when he is silent. Even in the midst of tragic circumstance God is still present, even when it is hard to see or perceive him.”

“Psalm 46 says God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. The reality is that there will be difficult times, but God promises to be our refuge. When buildings crumbling and our world is shaken. God has not failed us. He has promised to be with us in the middle of tragedy. We sometimes think that when we find ourselves in difficult circumstances that God has abandoned us, but this is not the case.”

The senior choir, at Harkins’s request, sang “God Leads His Dear Children Along.” It was written by George Young after his home was burned to the ground: “Some through the water, something through the flood, some through the fire, but all through the blood. Some through great sorrow, but God gives us a song in the night season and all the day long.”

If you would like to have your church highlighted in the space, please message or

More on The Root DC

Hate in the wake of 9/11

Kevin Hart gets serious about his comedy

Teenage fights get taped and go viral

Being black and American