In his book, Worship Seeking Understanding, John Witvliet cites a worship leaders who spoke of weekly congregational singing as “rehearsing the congregation for a future funeral.” Witvliet comments: “What if we planned our music with this as a primary goal? ‘Musician, why did you choose that piece of music?’ ‘Well, it fit the texts of the day, it was well crafted, it challenged us musically—but mostly I picked it because you’ll need to know that piece when your family is preparing to bury a loved one.”

This made me want to ask a few godly leaders I trust and respect for one song that they would like to have played at their funeral.

Below is an entry from John Piper.

[See the other entries: Joni Eareckson TadaRussell Moore, Michael Reeves]

According to actuarial tables I am supposed to die when Steve Green’s song, “God and God Alone,” turns 50. That would be sweet. My wife will have the final say of what happens at my funeral, but if I get my way, the first word uttered will be the word “God” in the first, unannounced song, “God and God Alone.”

There are four reasons, because the song has four verses which celebrate four cherished realities.

1. Divine Creation

God and God alone
Created all these things we call our own
From the mighty to the small
The Glory in them all
Is God’s and God’s alone

God made everything that is not God. He stands in need of nothing. He owns it all. We don’t own anything. Everything is a stewardship. The aim of the owner is that we use his world so as to make him look more valuable than the world. Every glorious created thing is a gift. We exist to show that “The glory in them all / Is God’s and God’s alone.”

2. Divine Beauty

God and God alone
Is fit to take the universe’s throne
Let everything that lives
Reserve its truest praise
For God and God alone

God’s “fitness” to take the universe’s throne is owing to the beauty of his own intrinsic perfections. He is not “fit” because there is a law outside himself that he conforms to. There is no pre-existent blueprint which he exists to fit. There is nothing above him or outside him, but what he fitly creates and rules from his throne. All that happens is his blueprint, including every note struck at this funeral, or not.

Thanksgiving is what we render for God’s benefits. Praise is what we render for God’s beauty. In the end, beauty is what ultimately and perfectly fits the way God is. To see that, and savor that, and show that, is why we live. Therefore, “Let everything that lives / Reserve its truest praise / For God and God alone.”

3. Divine Sovereignty

God and God alone
Reveals the truth of all we call unknown
And the best and worst of man
Won’t change the Master’s plan
It’s God’s and God’s alone

God’s plan stands. Ours fail or fit his. This is what it means to be God. “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose’” (Is. 46:9–10).

Absolute sovereignty is what I love to ascribe to God. “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2). “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand” (Prov. 19:21).

The worst of men, like Pilate and Herod, did their best to stand against God’s plan. But only fulfilled it. Without this evil-wielding sovereignty there would be no cross, no blood, no salvation, no gospel. I praise God that the plan that stands “Is God’s and God’s alone.”

4. Divine Delight

God and God alone
Will be the joy of our eternal home
He will be our one desire
Our hearts will never tire
Of God and God alone

Not heaven. Not escape from hell. Not the forgiveness of sins. Not eternal life. Not the resurrection of a glorious body. Not reunion with loved ones. Not every tear removed. Not health restored. Not the inheritance of all things. Not the new heavens and the new earth. But God and God alone will be the joy of our eternal home. He will welcome us into his joy. “Enter into the joy of your master” (Matt. 25:21). He will be the joy of all our joys.

No created thing is inexhaustible in soul-satisfying wonders. All of them would become boring in a thousand years. But not God. For “in the coming ages he will show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7). It will take all future ages to exhaust the “riches of God’s grace,” because they are “immeasurable.” Therefore “Our hearts will never tire / Of God and God alone.”