Pastor Ralph J. Mineo, St. Luke's Lutheran Church
Lloyd C. Douglas (author of "The Robe" and other novels) lived in a boarding house when he was a student. On the first floor lived a retired music teacher who was in poor health, unable to leave his apartment. He and Douglas developed a friendship and a daily ritual. Each morning Douglas would come down the steps from his apartment, open the music teacher's door and ask him, "What's the good news?"
The music teacher would pick up his tuning fork, tap it on the side of his wheelchair, and say "That's middle C! It was middle C yesterday. It will be middle C tomorrow. It will be middle C a thousand years from now. The tenor upstairs sings flat. The piano across the hall is out of tune. But my friend, that is middle C!"
This story reminds me of the Bible verse: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." (Hebrews 13:8)
The message here is a message of Good News: we have a standard to live by. There are many standards in life to follow. Middle C is a musical standard. For believers, Jesus Christ is the standard for the way we live, behave, treat others, and so on.
We can't walk straight by walking according to a crooked standard, a false standard, or (God forbid) an evil standard. Our standard is Jesus Christ who came among us for our salvation.
Jesus sets the standards for us to follow. Some of his teaching was common sense. Some made no sense at all. But all are for our spiritual health. We are called to love one another. Not just any love -- but sacrificial, self-giving love. Jesus set the standard to love our enemies, praying for those who persecute us, and (YIKES) turning the other cheek. Jesus set the standard that we need to make time for prayer. Jesus set the standard that we need to care for those in need, sharing our resources with others. Jesus set a high standard for living a moral, ethical, God-like life.
Tough standards, yes! Also wonderful standards! Blessings upon you as you strive to live your life according to the standards Jesus Christ has set for us!