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Along the Journey  |  

A Call to Compassion

 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.”  Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.  John 19: 26-27


If ever there was a time when Christ had an excuse to focus on Himself, it was at Calvary.

He could have reserved every last thought to consider his own impending death, allow himself to succumb to his circumstances, and justifiably put an abrupt end to his misery.


Instead, we see our Christ focusing not on himself, but on someone else.

In the midst of horrifying suffering and shame, Christ our dear Lord gives thought to his mother.

This, I believe, offers us the ultimate call to compassion in the midst of trauma.

In all of the agony and pain on the cross, Christ takes time for compassion.

Even in excruciating tribulation, He reaches beyond himself to be compassionate to Mary.


This is a lesson for us today!

In the midst of all of the trauma, grief and calamity that has run rapid in our nation, community and homes, Jesus calls us to compassion.

This means that Jesus calls us to move beyond the acts of kindness and holiness in the mountaintop, rod-lifting, sea-opening moments.

He also wants us to be compassionate in times of inconvenience, in the midst of confusion, and among situations that are beyond our control.


As we stand beneath the cross of our own trauma and suffering, we are reminded that as personal pain occupies us, it does not give us permission to be blind to the needs of others.

Jesus demonstrates to us, through his words to Mary that we must reach beyond ourselves to facilitate the healing of others through compassion.

As we choose to be the arms and legs of compassion, we participate in our own healing.


“Woman behold thy son; son behold thy mother.”

These are the words Jesus spoke to His mother and His beloved disciple John.

Jesus is speaking to us today, His beloved disciples, saying…’Brothers, Sisters, behold THY call to compassion!’

Dr. McDonald serves as an ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and earned a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Research. With over 18 years of ministry experience as an educator and pastor. She is currently the pastor of St. Luke A.M.E Church/Cartersville.

Dr. McDonald seeks to educate churches and communities on the importance of implementing informal learning systems as a way of facilitating leadership and learning among Black youth and young adults. These systems are also imperative to their faith development, especially in light of adverse childhood experiences (ACE’s), trauma, and transition.

Her research and work in the community has involved working with the National Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives as well as the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, Region IV in the area of Women’s Health focusing on trauma, faith development and health. In this way, she has provided churches and communities with the resources they need to move from trauma informed care to healing centered engagement. As a  Christian education professor and Leadership Education Consultant, she lead the team that redesigned the AME church Sunday school curriculum and has served as a consultant in theological education arenas to develop leadership, curriculum and mentoring resources to future clergy and lay leaders within the Black church.

Along the Journey