Yesterday we held a memorial service for a dear friend and member of Hope Church, Bill Gagnon. Bill came to Hope about five years ago, showing up at our Wednesday night Bible Study. Bill was a new follower of Christ and he wasn’t bashful about sharing his sin struggles, reminding us all of our need for a Savior. He also had lots of questions, and we eagerly searched through Scripture for the answers.
In early April, Bill was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer that had spread into his liver. On May 23, the family was called into the hospital to say goodbye. He was in and out of consciousness that day, so when he was awake, I asked him what he wanted to tell his family. Without hesitation he said, “Follow Jesus.” Bill didn’t die that day. We were all so thankful for each day the Lord did give him.
Bill was a piano technician, a trade he had learned from his father. As I was praying about the message I would deliver at his memorial service, I got to thinking about how pianos are tuned. Bill had been to our home several times to tune our piano. Tuning takes time and the right equipment. Bill made minute adjustments to the tension of the strings to properly align the intervals between their tones.
I learned about A-440, which is the pitch standard for the note A above middle C. On a piano, that string should vibrate at exactly 440 vibrations per second (or 440 Hz). Anything higher would be sharp; anything lower would be flat. Once that “A” had been tuned to the pitch standard, the other notes would be tuned to that.
You can certainly tune a piano to itself at a different frequency, but for two instruments to be in harmony with each other, they need a pitch standard, a standard outside of itself.
A person may think they are in tune – their life is going well until they meet someone like Bill who seems to be tuned to a different pitch. They see peace in his life, strength that isn’t seen every day. What’s the difference? Bill’s life has been tuned to the ultimate standard – Jesus Christ. Bill has repented of his sins and received Jesus into his life; he has put his faith in him. To put it in musical terms: Bill is in harmony with Jesus.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven, given among men, by which we must be save.” (Acts 4:12)
Bill’s desire, God’s desire, is that we all get in tune with Jesus Christ. How do we do that? Confess our sins, repent and put our faith in Him.
Paul proclaims in Colossians 3:3, “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”
Jesus is our pitch standard! And now Bill is in His very presence!