Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5: 18-20 NRSV
At this point, I realize that what Paul has been preaching on this whole time is not really proper behavior in life (although much of what he said and we've been looking at can be applied that way). What Paul is complaining about is worship behavior.
People are getting drunk in worship, most likely during communion. I am also guessing that they are then NOT singing appropriate worship songs.
In many of our protestant denominations, we forget that communion did not include grape juice but wine. Obviously, several parishioners in First Church of Ephesus are trying to make sure that they get lots of grace by imbibing a great deal of wine during the Lord's Supper. Paul says to stop getting drunk, but instead be filled with the Holy Spirit! Sing if you have to keep your mouth busy (this would also avoid all that evil talk he mentioned earlier)! Sing to yourself, in your heart. Don't know what to sing about? How about your thankfulness to God for everything in the name of Jesus!
Perhaps this kind of behavior is not as possible in today's churches - even those that serve wine only allow a small sip. But we are liable to misuse other things in worship. I think we could all focus much better in worship if we sung songs of thanksgiving in our hearts while opening ourselves up to the Holy Spirit in church.
Question for the day: Can you think of one song you could sing in your heart with thanksgiving in worship this week?
Copyright 2009 Amelia G. Sims