Mugs, cards, shirts, jumpers, phone covers and bags are just a few terms of merchandise that can be purchased since the year 2000 all with the famous slogan blazoned on it.
The slogan was first used in 1939 by the Ministry of Information which served as the British propaganda department. In fact, it was created but it was never used and when Britain faced a huge paper shortage in 1940, 2.45 million posters displaying the slogan were pulped.
The slogan is of course, “Keep Calm and Carry On”
Moving into the 3rd of the Beatitudes list we see something far more than a slogan:
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5 v 5)
On that mountainside we may have a picture of idyllic beauty with not a care in the world. But it is in the region of Herod Antipas. After Herod the Great’s death the nation was broken up into smaller regions and one of his sons, Antipas, ruled the region of this mountainside. Antipas had imprisoned John the Baptist because John had been condemning his affair with his sister-in-law who he had stolen from his brother. The people lived at a time where the powerful chased more power. Whether that be the political leaders or the religious leaders they would assert themselves over others in order to advance their own causes. Sadly we still see it in our world today. Jesus was meek but he wasn’t weak. He was strong in facing the religious hypocrites and he was strong to go to the cross but he never trod on anyone for any reason. The Apostle Paul said he himself had learnt to be content in every situation.
There isn’t many people operating a ‘keep calm and carry on’ policy. The angry fight and conquer. I have wrote blogs on the abuse of leadership however it isn’t always top-down. Yesterday I was mistakenly copied into an email from a member to a minister (actually they weren’t even a member) accusing them of being divisive, hurtful and discourteous. Why? The minister wanted to bring a really small change. There’s nothing like enforced change that challenges meekness. A few days before that I sat with a minister as he experienced a fierce onslaught from a member who didn’t like his ministry. After 20 minutes (19 minutes too long) I had to stop the conversation and said, ‘I had never heard anything like this for 30 years, meaning I have never heard anything like it at all.’ It isn’t that I am against criticism. I think the reason why we don’t get better is we ignore the critic. However I am against anger and the grabbing of power. Abuse is all around us and we need to make sure it doesn’t take up residence as acceptable behaviour.
We live in a world which will do absolutely anything to cling on to power. It exists in the Christian world as much as outside of it. It flies in the face of the 1939 slogan. More importantly it has nothing to do with the counter-cultural invitation of Jesus when describing His Kingdom.
Look at what the Message says: “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.”
So Keep Calm and Carry on even if you’re in a war.