Reading for the Commemoration of Johann Sebastian Bach, Kantor

On July 28, the Church remembers the life of Johann Sebastian Bach. Today's reading is an excerpt from Hero of Faith: Johann S. Bach.

Devotional Reading

Even at the end of Bach’s life, his friends and admirers had to defend his style of music against many critics. With the passing of time, Johann Sebastian Bach’s music was forgotten for a while. About a hundred years after Bach’s death, another famous Lutheran musician, Felix Mendelssohn, discovered Bach’s music and reintroduced it to the world. From that time on, it remained extraordinarily popular. About 800 of Bach’s works are still around today (500 are from his church music and 300 from his days in the palaces). Even now, people around the world are excited to hear the wonderful music of this man.

Although he wrote music for all kinds of situations and people, Bach’s greatest song—his finest accomplishment—was the life he lived as a loving husband and father, a teacher, a musician, a composer for everyone. Throughout his life, Bach remembered his Baptism. He remembered how God had made him His own and blessed him with many things—his family, his talents, his experiences.

But most of all, he remembered God had graced him with his Savior Jesus Christ. That made all the difference in Bach’s life. He did not focus on who he was, but rather on whose he was. He was a beloved child of the heavenly Father. During his whole life, Bach was busy making God’s song his own greatest song. At the end of each of his many pieces of music, Bach always wrote the letters SDG. Those letters are an abbreviation for “Soli Deo Gloria,” which is Latin for “To God alone be the glory.”

God gave Bach a strong faith in Jesus. He also gave him outstanding talents to use to praise Him and to serve others. In the same way, God gives each of us our talents and the desire and ability to develop them and put them into good use as we serve our family, our friends, and others. God’s song is in each of us. Our life is our song back to Him. God hears what we sing as the song of His love plays in our life.


Blessed Lord, we honor You and adore You because You have put melody in our hearts through the redeeming love of Your Son Jesus, and we pray that our hymns and spiritual songs may blend with the choirs of heaven to give endless praise to Him who is our Lord and Savior. Amen.

Read Treasury of Daily Prayer

Devotional reading is adapted from Hero of Faith: Johann S. Bach, pages 43, 45–46 © 2011 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Prayer is from Open the Meeting with Prayer, pages 37–38 © 1973 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Subscribe to all CPH Blog topics (Worship, Read, Study, Teach, and Serve)