Today’s feature for my Countdown to Easter Day #2 is the song “Gethsemane” by the talented composer Melanie Hoffman of Utah. Sweet Claire Ryann sings it so adorably above.
I was so excited to see a simplified version of the song’s sheet music in the March 2018 issue of the Friend, the magazine for children published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Find it here.
Melanie and Roger Hoffman. Photo Credit: Deseret News
I love the words Melanie uses in this song and the order she put them in. For example, the song has this triplet combination of phrases describing the Atonement:
“the hardest thing that ever was done,
the greatest pain that ever was known,
the biggest battle that ever was won.”
I just love that combination of words! It perfectly describes what I imagine Jesus experienced for us in the Garden of Gethsemane. This song is such a wonderful expression of the love and victory that Jesus expressed for us. What agony, what love, what triumph, all rolled into one. I just love the song! I have memorized it, I sing it, and I encourage you all to do so well and sing it when life feels hard! It will help ease whatever longing or pain you are feeling. I know it sounds silly, but I sang it once just inside my head a week or so ago when I wanted to eat more dessert but knew that would be overeating. It was a THM dessert but still, I knew I had had enough. The song helped me exercise self-control.
Here is an article from the Deseret News giving the back story for the song. The article basically says that Melanie and her husband Roger, also a talented composer and lyricist, decided to write a collection of sacred songs about Jesus for children. From what they share, I am 100% confident that Melanie was inspired by God through the Holy Ghost to write these words and music. The author of the article, Lottie Peterson, wrote:
Because writing about such a sacred subject for a young audience was a difficult task, the couple initially thought they would just rearrange a sacrament hymn. But later on, the words “Gethsemane, Jesus loves me” came unexpectedly and strongly to Melanie Hoffman’s mind, and it wasn’t long after that point that she ended up writing the entire song.
“I just kept writing so fast,” she said. “It was building up to this big thing.”
In reflecting on how effortlessly “Gethsemane” came to his wife, Roger Hoffman added that “(The song) was a gift; it was given.”