It was hard not to be moved by the images of the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris over the past week.

Seeing this stunning masterpiece being engulfed by flames led to remarkable scenes on the streets of the French capital. People were weeping and singing as they gathered together. Even watching it via our phones, there was a strange feeling of helplessness as something so beautiful and magnificent was so powerfully consumed.

But there was a fascinating photo taken inside the church the morning after the fire. As smoke still rose around the altar and rubble lay all around, there in the darkness remained a cross, still hanging and somehow unscathed.

For me, it’s a powerful symbol of what this Easter week is all about. Because of the cross and resurrection of Jesus there is hope amidst hopelessness.

Yesterday, on Good Friday, we remembered Jesus’ death on a Roman cross, two thousand years ago. Of course, crucifixions were common place back then. But this death was different: as Jesus died he willingly took upon himself God’s righteous anger at everything horrific and unjust in our world, all so that we could be forgiven.

Sometimes it can be tempting to think Jesus’ mission ended in failure, but actually his death was the whole point. It shows us a God who has not remained in heaven, but has entered our broken world and is doing something it. In the midst of the messiness and uncertainty of our lives, the cross still stands. When you feel like you’re at a dead end and have run out of hope, the cross still stands.

And it doesn’t end with an empty cross: the first people to visit Jesus’ tomb found that empty too. By the way, if you think that sounds unbelievable, you’re in good company. It wasn't until Jesus’ friend Thomas actually touched the holes in Jesus’ hands that reality finally sunk in. At the very least, it deserves a closer look.

On Easter Sunday at Grace Church we have the joy of four adults getting baptised or re-affirming their baptisms - you’d be welcome to come along. Each person would say that the events of Easter bring them hope. Because the cross still stands, here is hope amidst hopelessness, even hope beyond the grave. Believing Jesus lived and died is one thing, but believing he died for you is some-thing very different. And believing Jesus died and then lived? Well, that changes everything.