Middle C Doesn’t Change

Madeline has a piano recital in a couple of weeks. She wanted to play her piece for me. It was a beautiful start. Somewhere in the middle it took a shift. She checked the key signature and the timing — both on target. She was using the correct fingering. What caused the shift in sound?

She went back to the basics — to the obvious. Where is middle C?  Oh, yes. She was only one key off. Yet that shift impacted everything from that point on.

Only one key off…

My mind went immediately to the words I had just read that morning.

When Lloyd Douglas, author of The Robe and other novels, attended college, he lived in a boarding house. A retired, wheelchair-​bound music professor resided on the first floor. Each morning Douglas would stick his head in the door of the teacher’s apartment and ask the same question. “Well, what’s the good news?”

The old man would pick up his tuning fork, tap it on the side of the wheelchair and say, “That’s middle C! It was middle C yesterday, it will be middle C tomorrow, and 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.” (Max Lucado, Grace for the Moment Volume II, 114)

My friend, that is middle C.

Middle C is still the name given to the note that has the pitch value of 261.63 Hz. It is the note on the ledger line halfway between the bass and treble clef on the great staff. You can count on that. My sister, who is a school music teacher and piano teacher, tells me if the pitch is not 261.63, your piano needs to be tuned. Middle C does not change.

So many changes in life—
Relationships change.
Health changes.
The weather changes.
The economy changes.
Everyone seems to be in some sort of transition. What remains the same, even when the changes of life seem unending?
Middle C doesn’t change.

And Yahweh who ruled the earth last night is the same Yahweh who rules it today.

Same convictions.
Same plan.
Same love.
He never changes.

Hebrews confirms “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

This text is preceded by exhortations regarding power, sex, and money.  This injunction follows, “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith” (Heb 13:1 – 8).

The implication is that the same Jesus Christ in whom your leaders trusted, will not change — even when life constantly changes. The temptations and challenges of life threaten to slide our focus ever so slightly off center. Yet, remember those whom stayed the course, who kept their focus on the One who never changes. Their lives speak volumes to those observing.

It was a moving memorial service. A husband, father, grandfather, and great-​grandfather lived 72 years BEFORE he accepted Jesus Christ into his life. The 12 years AFTER saw changes some would have thought impossible. A hard working, says-​it-​like-​it-​is kind of guy changes his vocabulary.  A strong want-​to-​be-​in-​control man expresses kindness and a humbling emerges.

Lawrence found his Middle C. Once he recalibrated his life, harmony flowed and others were impacted by the obvious change. It was a blessing to celebrate his changed life.

Yahweh declares in Malachi 3:6, “I the LORD do not change.”

We are the ones who need to continually attune. The good news is Middle C doesn’t change. Neither does our Yahweh.

To read more by Bev, be sure to check out her book, Shepherding Women in Pain.

About Bev Hislop

Bev Hislop has initiated church/​​community ministries for women on the west and east coasts of the U.S. and overseas. She authored Shepherding Women in Pain and Shepherding a Woman’s Heart, Moody Publishers. Bev currently teaches Pastoral Care to Women courses at Western […]

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  1. Barbara Burrell-Hutchins says:

    Love this well put.

  2. Barbara Burrell-Hutchins says:

    Love this well put.

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