Monday brought news of devastation from Paris, France. The Notre Dame Cathedral, a historical icon, was engulfed in flames. Destroyed spires and ravaged roof, the beloved cathedral stood in an unprecedented state of destruction. Still, among the ashes and through the billows of smoke, there was a glimmer of hope. The cross on the altar remained unscathed, a beaming symbol amidst tragedy.
Standing in the rubble, staring at the ruins of our sin feels like being in the Notre Dame Cathedral. There is damage in every direction. Our relationships tarnished; our reputations tainted by sin. Permanently stained by ashes and polluted with smoke, our lives are much like the demolished cathedral.
We recall our eagerness to shout, “Crucify him!” with the crowd; our enthusiasm to place the crown of thorns on Christ’s innocent head; and our encouragement to pierce his side. Reliving these events, we are painfully aware of the cost of our sins. Created to be perfect, we were once the beautiful crown of God’s masterpiece. Now, we are charred by sin and it’s hard to imagine that beauty ever existed within us.
Among the debris of our lives, however, lies a promise of hope. Through the devastation of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, the cross stands. When the flames overwhelm us and darkness envelops us, the cross stands. When tragedy strikes and smoke suffocates us, the cross stands. When fear overcomes us and we are completely brokenhearted, the cross stands. We know Easter is coming.
The plan for rescue has long been in place. Jesus—the one we sentenced to death—has saved us. The empty cross stands, reminding us that Jesus rose victoriously.
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