Paul wrote….

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. (From the Daily Office Readings, Mar. 4, 2012, Romans 6:3-6)

This is one of my favorite bits of theology from St. Paul! This portion of the Letter to the Romans is also in the Epistle Lesson for the Great Vigil of Easter in the Episcopal Church’s lectionary. I love the certitude with which Paul writes: “We will certainly by united with him!” For Paul this is incontrovertible! The Greek word translated “certainly” is alla which has the additional meaning of “nevertheless” or “notwithstanding” – in other words, there is nothing that can stand in the way of our resurrection with Christ. I am reminded of another favorite passage from Paul’s letter to the Roman church: “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:38-39) As we spend these weeks of Lent in self-examination and introspection, this is well worth remembering. No matter what faults or flaws we may think we find in ourselves, nothing, absolutely nothing can stand in the way of the loving relationship God desires with each of us.