Romans 11:36. For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
Matthew 6:33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Proverbs 3:5-6. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Confession time: I am not a music aficionado, though I do love music. While I do love all styles of music, I have a deep appreciation for classical music. While I appreciate Beethoven’s compositions and would describe them as emotionally stormy, Johann Sebastian Bach causes my soul to either look up and see the majesty of creation or expand at the beauty of it. Bach’s soul expanding works are made possible by how they were composed. Bach began each of his compositions with a prayer and ended it with an Amen.
Bach would begin composing each composition by scrawling a small “J.J” in the top left corner of the sheet of paper which stood for “Jesu Juva”. Translated into English, this says “Jesus Help Me.” It was Bach’s opening prayer before any notes were written down.
Likewise, as he finished the composition, He would sign the end of the piece with “S.D.G.” S.D.G stood for Soli Deo Gloria – “to the glory of God alone”. Soli Deo Gloria was the 5th of the five declarations that powered the Reformation and was his personal declaration that any good that came from his composition was to be only for God’s glory, and not his own.
King Solomon recounts that when he was young, his father encouraged him to “Acknowledge Him (God) in all your ways, for He will direct your paths.”(Proverbs 3:6) This is what Bach was doing. He was acknowledging God at the beginning and end of his daily work.
How would my days be different if at the beginning of each task I spoke or wrote “Jesu Juva – Jesus help me” as I began? Would my heart be more settled in the work of my day? Would I be able to declare at the end of the day – Soli Deo Gloria – Lord to you, and only you, receive the glory? I believe it would.
For most of us, to begin a new practice means that we must do it more than once. God has created us to remember something through visual reminders that then can prompt our memories. Practice anything long enough and eventually it becomes a habit, a habit fully lived out shapes the course of our lives.
This week, I am starting a new practice that I want to make a life habit. My morning coffee cup is now becoming my “J.J” – my Jesu Juva, Jesus help me, and brushing my teeth is going to be my reminder to declare S.D.G. – Soli Geo Gloria – to you and you alone be the glory.
You may find other ways to acknowledge God throughout your day, but I’m going to try my very best to use these two visual prompts to begin a new practice that hopefully will shape the course of my life. My goal is to live in such a way that I no longer need any prompts, but for now, it begins with coffee and a tooth brush.
May the whisper of our souls always be “Jesus help me” and “to You alone be the Glory!”