Johann Sabastian Bach is one of the greatest composers in history. His writings shaped and transformed the music of his day, and continue to inspire us today with their beauty. Living in the late 17th and early 18th century, he wrote several hundred pieces, many of which were written to draw people closer to God.
A peek at his musical manuscripts reveals something interesting. At the top of his compositions, we find the letters “JJ” written in the corner. At the completion of his musical manuscripts, he penned “SDG” as the concluding statement to his music. A little lesson in Latin helps us understand Bach’s intentions. The letters that Bach wrote at the beginning and end of his music are prayers. JJ is an abbreviation for “Jesu Juva,” which translated into English means, “Jesus, help me.” At the beginning of every work, Bach beseeches the Lord to guide him. The SDG at the end of his music stands for “Soli Deo Gloria.” Here Bach prays that each piece of music will humbly proclaim “To God Alone [be] the Glory.”
You may not be a classical music fan, but Bach sets a challenging and inspiring example for us all. He encourages us to begin every day, every task with the prayer, “Jesus, help me.” Bach didn’t write one note without seeking God’s blessing. In the same way, I want to cover each piece of my day with the same prayer. Bach also wanted to the world to know that anything he accomplished, he did so that God alone would get the glory. What a powerful reminder that how we complete our tasks is just as important as how we begin them.
My Jesus Resolution today is to learn to follow Bach’s example. I am going to write “JJ” at the top of my to-do list. It will serve as a reminder to seek His wisdom, walk in His way, and surrender to His purpose as I move through my day. I am also going to write “SDG” at the bottom of my list. I want everything I do, even washing dishes and packing lunches, to reveal God’s glory and point people to Jesus. I love how Bach used simple letters to remind himself, and us, about who we serve and who is sovereign. I want to do the same. SDG