I cannot read music, but Bach's compositions make perfect sense.
Johann Sebastian Bach has a staying power that is the envy of one-hit wonders and the American Idols of the pop scene. Here is what one said about Bach's work, 'Die Kunst der Fuge' ('The Art of the Fugue'), "His last great work is the complete summary of all his skill in counterpoint and fugue; methods which he perfected, and beyond which no composer has ever been able to pass."
There is no denying Bach's genius. It is a gift of God. At the same time his compositions provide a clue as to his motivating drive. Bach would insert the letters SDG in the margin of his works. SDG is the abbreviation for the Latin Soli Deo Gloria (to the glory of God alone).
David Platt writes, "While the goal of the American dream is to make much of us, the goal of the gospel is to make much of God." Johann Sebastian Bach understood this, he embraced it, and he lived it. It is also what Paul teaches in his letter to the Romans:
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! "Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?" "Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?" For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen. Romans 11:33-36 ESV
Bach signed his work, SDG -- to the glory of God alone! How often I miss that. It is so easy to engage in working, parenting, studying, teaching, writing, playing, or even sharpening my gifts for God . . . and subtly (or not so subtly) write TK (Tommy Kiedis) in a John Hancock sized-script across the bottom.
How often I yearn for the glory.
Today can be different. So today I am going to initial this 24-hour composition SDG. God, may my motive be your glory alone!
How will you initial your work today?
A PRAYER: Lord, refresh me this morning. May your glory be my heart's cry. May my attitudes, efforts, and actions help others to speak well of You!
- "And beyond which ..." from Baroque Composes And Musicians: Johann Sebastian Bach, in www.baroquemusic.org. Accessed October 17, 2010.
- "While the goal of the American dream ..." from David Platt, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From The American Dream, chapter three.