After finishing his great theological words in his Epistle to the Ephesians, Apostle Paul reaches the behavioral aspect and warns believers from worthless speech. He goes on and says that Christians are a light in the Lord and he stimulates them to “live as children of light”; he also clarifies that this is what they become if they were filled with the Holy Spirit who is the source of every goodness, righteousness and truth.

His advice results in the fact that they should experience what pleases the Lord by leaving the “deeds of darkness”. He also encourages them to expose these deeds in their Christian brothers so that the whole Church becomes beautiful. We tend to hide the deed of darkness. Therefore, Paul encourages believers to show the deeds of light.

After stressing on the light, he quotes an old chant that was used in worship by saying: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you”. He concludes from the fact that Christ is the light of the world by calling Christians to live “not as unwise but as wise because the days are evil”.

This was the general advice, to hold on to the wisdom of God (“Be wise as serpents”, as the Lord said). However, in order to live as the Lord wants us to, we must understand His will. His will is to keep his commandments, to take Him as an example and to try to be like Him.

Here, he gives an example of Christian behavior which doesn’t contain everything, but could be used as a standard: “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery”. It is meant that getting drunken leads to rejecting chastity and this is what Paul calls “debauchery”. The basis in the issue of alcohol is to be used by man with moderation. In many Christian cultures, it is a normal drink; however, if a person fell in drunkenness he would be violating the commandment. “Drunkards will not inherit the Kingdom of God” (1Corinthians 6: 10). The tranquility of mind, which is absent in a drunkard, is something basic for believers. Gluttony and drunkenness are the same.

As a contrast of Drunkenness, Paul introduces “being filled with the spirit” which requires chastity. If you were filled with the Holy Spirit, you will become able to “speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit”. Here, we conclude that Christian worship (rituals) at Paul’s time, contained chants and not only readings.

Some people – including monks – rejected, since Paul’s time, the usage of tunes in chanting. However, the Church didn’t give this objection over music any importance and confirmed the usage of music in the East and the West (until the 13th century) without musical instruments. The Eastern Church believed that chanting with the human voice is enough to raise the soul towards God.

Translated by Mark Najjar

Original Text: “الحياة في النُّور” –Raiati 49- 02.12.2012