Bach and Handel are both composers from the Baroque period and each stood out in numerous ways.  But one commonality between the two was how they signed the end of their cantatas and compositions.  S.D.G. (see picture).  These initials represent the Latin statement, Soli Deo Gloria, To God alone be the Glory. 

It is said that the first performance in London of the Messiah was attended by King George II.  When the Hallelujah Chorus began, he rose to his feet, and so did those with him (following the King’s lead).  Thus our tradition of standing for the Hallelujah chorus even today! There are many speculations on why King George rose to his feet.  But I must believe this explanation found on Wikipedia:

“As was and is the custom, one stands in the presence of royalty as a sign of respect. The Hallelujah chorus clearly places Christ as the King of Kings. In standing, King George II accepts that he too is subject to the Lord of Lords.”

In this way – even King George II finished the Messiah with S.D.G. shown in his actions.  We too must learn that we bow low in humility and thankfulness before our King, but to stand in His presence shows that we are moving the glory from our accomplishments – to the composer of our lives.

May you find every way to say –Soli Deo Gloria – To God Alone Be the Glory!

© Cheryl Meakins

S. D. G. - Soli Deo Gloria - Handel's signature at the end of the Messiah

S. D. G. - Soli Deo Gloria - Handel's signature at the end of the Messiah

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