Rev. Dr. Mark Whitlock (Courtesy photo)

Ephesians 5:15-18 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.

A study reveals the legacy of slavery affects the mental and spiritual health of Black Americans.

For descendants of slaves, the subject of slavery evokes feelings of emptiness, shame and embarrassment associated with the degradations of slavery. Harvard psychiatrist Alvin Poussaint suggests that the impact of slavery asked why suicide rates among Black males doubled between 1980 and 1995.

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In his co-authored book, “Lay My Burden Down: Suicide and the Mental Health Crisis among African Americans,” he describes the hardships of the slave system and argues that one of the reasons for this increase in suicides in African American young men could be because some may see the afterlife as a better place.

Joy DeGruy, Portland State University scholar, has developed “post-traumatic slave syndrome” as a theory for explaining the effects of unresolved trauma on the behaviors of blacks that is transmitted from generation to generation.

Slavery was abolished in 1865 in America, but the psychological impact of slavery is fueling self-hate and insecurity.  Somebody say…Fill me up Lord

The content and context of the text is Paul is writing a letter to Gentile slaves and free people.  Paul was concerned that the church of Ephesus had lost sight of the mission of God in Jesus Christ.

Paul realizes that the psychological impact on them being slaves was drinking to excess. Paul instructs the church to “but be not drunk, be filled with the spirit. Walk worthy of the calling, walk not as a fool, but wisely.”

So the question is what is filling your mind and refueling the soul?

The Bible says in Ephesians 5:18, And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit. Paul reminds them to be careful about who and what refills and refuels you. Paul preached primarily to primarily Gentile slaves and free people.

Paul has often been misinterpreted as supporting the evils of slavery by quoting this biblical text.  The Bible says in Ephesians 6:5, “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.”

This text has been misinterpreted to justify slavery, but Paul never meant for this to be the case.  But, some of misguided evangelical conservative rightwing people used the text to enslave the minds of Christians.

If we examine that Paul says in Galatians 3:28-29, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

This means all believers are heirs of the promises of God. That’s why Paul reminds us in the 21st century that we are on a rescue mission to save all souls. We need a rescue mission to save souls from misinformation, misinterpretation,  and messy leadership.

Anytime the governor of Florida can declare that slavery was good, that slaves benefited from slavery, we need rescue mission.

Anytime people in Maryland spend over $87 million on weed to get high, we need a rescue mission.

Anytime a former U.S. president can have 78 charges in three indictments and still have the support of 75 million people, we need a rescue mission.

Anytime we have young people killing young people with guns, but no gun laws to prevent it, we need a rescue mission.

Anytime a church is more focused on mess than mission, we need a rescue mission.

We are members of God’s rescue to save the lost and left behind.

The Bible says 1 Peter 2:9, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

We must not be fueled wine but be filled with the Spirit.  Here it is – be filled with the spirit.

I have to say it because we can be blood bought, but we still need to be refilled by the Spirit. Even Jesus took time to be refilled by the Spirit in the Garden of Gethsemane.

No matter if the church has been full of the Spirit in the past, the church needs to be refilled over and over again.

No matter how victorious the church was yesterday, the church needs to be refilled with the Spirit to be victorious today.

No matter how spiritually strong the church was yesterday, the church needs to be refilled with the Holy Spirit to be spiritually strong today.

No matter how spiritually gifted the church was yesterday, the church needs to be refilled with the spirit to have spiritual gifts today!

No matter how devoted the church was yesterday, the church needs to be refilled to remain devoted today!

Somebody say, “Fill me up Lord!”