Across the Pastor’s Desk: Keep calm in the storm, carry on

Published 8:17 pm Thursday, June 21, 2018

Across the Pastor’s Desk by Josh Enderson

Joshua Enderson


In my home office, I have a copy of a poster tacked up on my wall. It a red poster that says “Keep calm and carry on.”  You’ve probably seen them around, since it’s been heavily commercialized over the past few years.

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This poster was originally designed in 1939 in Great Britain. World War II was ramping up, and the posters were meant to boost the morale of the British people should Germany begin attacking England. The message was simple but powerful, so much so that it still rings true today.

But this message wasn’t new in 1939. It has been around for a while. We see the same message in John’s gospel. “The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When the disciples had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were terrified. But he said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’” (John 6:18-20) In the midst of the rough waves, Jesus reminds his disciples to stay calm and carry on. “It is I,” Jesus says, “Relax, continue on.” 

We live in uncertain times: political gridlock, war and strife around the world, a growing economic divide, injustice and inequality in our society. But then, to this list of global concerns, we add all of our personal struggles as well: illness, job loss, family fights and so on. Sometimes, when we think about lists like these, I think that many of us just want to throw our hands in the air and give up.

Despite all of these things, God’s grace calls on us to forge ahead. No, we don’t want to just ignore the pain around us, as if it weren’t there. But, we are to remember that God’s grace is stronger than the pain of this world. God’s grace cannot be paralyzed by pain, and neither should we. God’s grace is at work in our world as well.

So, where have you seen God’s grace at work lately?  I encourage you to listen closely to the words of that poster: “Keep calm and carry on.”  Listen to Jesus’ words that he speaks to his disciples: “It is I; do not be afraid.”  In the midst of our struggles and anxieties, we can trust that Christ walks with us and that Christ will never leave us. Fear and anxiety cannot and should not paralyze us, since we know that, even in the midst of the wind and the waves, Jesus is there. Listen to Christ’s words; look for God’s grace; carry on in God’s work in your life and in our world.

Josh Enderson is a pastor at Hayward and Trondhjem Lutheran churches.