One Christmas I bought a set of classy looking, heavy weight ceramic bookends that were shaped like a couple of volumes of books and painted beautifully.  I wrapped them carefully and put them under the tree.  It was a joy to watch my husband, who has always loved to read, open his gift.   These bookends, chipped after multiple moves, have been used for more than 40 years.

I recently learned that Johann Sebastian Bach used two phrases as bookends.   In a devotion from the Prayer Devotional Bible, Ben Patterson wrote,” In a very real way Bach’s works were bathed in prayer.  He often penned the letters JJ near the beginning of a score and SDG at the end.  JJ stands for Jesu Juva, Latin for “Help me, O Jesus”; SDG stands for another Latin phrase, Soli Deo Gloria,  “To God Alone Be the Glory.”

Bookends for life.  JJ at the beginning of every endeavor and SDG at each completion.  JJ for each morning and SDG for each evening.   SDG at the end of each year, and JJ at the beginning of each new one.  “Help me, O Jesus” was at the beginning of my life of faith, and “to God alone be the Glory” will be my final breath.

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