It’s Easter morning and I’m at church with my daughter. There’s maybe 400 people worshiping together. The speaker asks us to write the following on a small piece of paper, with non dominant hand, indicating vulnerability, humanity.

0510191016So here’s mine, I know how you feel.

Then he said,

If you have been depressed, raise your paper and exchange it with someone.

If you have been bullied.

If you have lost a loved one.

I exchange along with everyone else, first with those next to me who I know, and then with those who are to me strangers, but no longer. Two outstretched hands sharing sorrow. I know yours, you know mine.

I handed mine to a woman in the aisle who had lost a loved one; oh, yes, I do know how you feel, I thought, I do. I do.

(As I write this weeks later, I’m adding a few more ‘ifs’, some mine, some not.

If your heart is broken, if you feel old and sad and not seen. If you are alone and lonely, if you are sick, if your children are estranged or walking away from God. The list seems endless; add your own.)

But back to Easter Sunday…………….

Our collective sorrow sat like a pall among us. Then the pastor encouraged us to look up and consider this day. It’s Easter. He is risen! Victory has been won over sin and death and sorrow and all the sad, horrible things of this life.

All of our common sorrows have been redeemed by the most uncommon, outrageous, amazing, splendid grace. Our creator God knows how we feel and he did something (more than that – everything!) about it.

The cross is the ultimate, I know how you feel.

The resurrection is the ultimate hope.  He is risen indeed.

For……

Surely, says Isaiah, He has born our griefs and carried our sorrows.

For He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him,

And by his stripes we are healed.

It’s the great exchange. Come unto me, says the risen, powerful savior, I know how you feel, all ye who are heavy laden.

Believe in me and I will give you rest.

Learn of me and lean on me and you shall find rest in your souls.

Happy Easter, the ‘I know how you feel’ day of hope, all year long!