Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. (Eph 4:26-27 KJV)
As opposite and contradiction to an angry being the apostle posits the mild light of peaceful and forgiving love. The apostle thereby wants to put a clear and definite end to the endless sin of anger and violence. This even flares up in Christians, yet this wrath is not to persist or take over eventually. That is why this should be clarified and overcome even before the sun sets. Peace, love and tranquillity is to rule our minds and hearts during the night so that we can face it more readily with its other temptations and threatening dangers – and not be side-tracked or preoccupied with sinful conflict and strive. Evil is not to gain space or break in to our lives. If peace is threatened and strife breaks out, it is not to be accommodated, but rather removed without delay and unnecessary hesitation. Make haste to rid yourself of your passionate inflammation and enraged fury – at least before the sun is setting in the West – otherwise the devil (our evil foe) will entangle your heart more and more in the chords of discord and strive. As you grant him room – and let the fire of hatred and anger burn and scorch – you will fall into even more sinful traps and snares doing what is not right in the sight of God and against your fellow people. My dear friends: Don’t let anger take control over you and don’t give it permanent residence in your lives! Rather fight the first inclination towards anger and conflict – and let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts +
Holy Lord and God, free us from sinful anger and wrath. Keep us from doing what is not right in your eyes. Keep us from harming those, whom you have given at our sides to love and care for – and preserve us from doing wrong against them and thus acquiring new guilt and more shame. Grant that we would recognize the danger of giving room to the evil one in our lives, minds and hearts – and keep us safe from his destructive doings and temptations. We are you own and children of your family o God. Abide with us and keep us safe and sound in true faith, love and hope o good Lord throughout this day and even after the sun has set – throughout the night and in all darkness and loneliness. We don’t have anywhere else to go o Lord, but stay with you our gracious host and sanctuary in all trouble and need. You are our King and Saviour. Help us even in this our affliction by the means you deem best and most salutary. Amen.
A mighty Fortress is our God, A trusty Shield and Weapon; He helps us free from every need That hath us now o’ertaken. The old evil Foe Now means deadly woe; Deep guile and great might Are his dread arms in fight; On Earth is not his equal.
With might of ours can naught be done, Soon were our loss effected; But for us fights the Valiant One, Whom God Himself elected. Ask ye, Who is this? Jesus Christ it is. Of Sabaoth Lord, And there’s none other God; He holds the field forever.
Though devils all the world should fill, All eager to devour us. We tremble not, we fear no ill, They shall not overpower us. This world’s prince may still Scowl fierce as he will, He can harm us none, He’s judged; the deed is done; One little word can fell him.
The Word they still shall let remain Nor any thanks have for it; He’s by our side upon the plain With His good gifts and Spirit. And take they our life, Goods, fame, child and wife, Let these all be gone, They yet have nothing won; The Kingdom our remaineth. (Martin Luther 1483-1546)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Friday after the nineteenth Sunday after the high holiday and festival of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 353 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu! (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.