The Story Behind All For love (Gethsemane) // Anna Hellebronth

Coming up to Easter time, last year, I had been reading through Jesus’ journey to the cross. The lead up has always has such a profound impact on me, but in this moment at home, on my own one evening, I was overwhelmed by the depth of emotion Jesus must have felt in the Garden of Gethsemane. To think what it must have been like to be fully man, with all the emotions and fears that we all know, and yet fully God; having the weight of humanity’s destiny, since the beginning until the end of time, resting on His shoulders. The magnitude of that responsibility must have felt unbearable. He would have known what was to come; the torture, the pain, the separation, the loneliness and yet also knowing He was the only one who could go to the cross. Yet even in the face of what he knew would be the most gruesome, painful, awful death, He chose it and in doing so, He chose us; a people who He knew didn’t fully grasp who He was and His radical love. He knew the cost that was before Him, He even pleaded with utter heart break that it be taken from Him and yet He knew it was the only way. Driven by the call of redemption, a deeper love, mercy and compassion; only possible because of His deity, His majesty.

I remember sitting at the piano feeling pretty emotional and sang out “in the Garden of Gethsemane, where mercy met Your majesty, You chose us” I quickly spilled out some verse lyrics that try to capture the dichotomy of Jesus’ decision. The weight of it, the pain of it of it and yet His deeper compassion. I had another chorus that I had written and in that moment added it and had a moment of worship, just for me, of adoring Him, thanking Him. 

I played the idea to my husband Luke when he got home and he thought there was something powerful in it. But we just left it as an idea, maybe. 

It wasn’t until we had a songwriting retreat a few months later that I brought it out again. Luke and I have written with Ben Cantelon before and Luke thought that this was an idea we needed to show Ben. So one evening, we showed him the idea. Again, something about it resonated. The three of us sat for a couple of hours, getting lost in that moment again where Jesus was in the garden and digging into lyrics to try and do justice to the narrative. We knew that some of the lyrics were not going to be pretty - it wasn’t a pretty moment and we wanted to not be afraid of that. We refined the original idea together - I love having fresh ears on an idea you’ve had as it brings in an objective approach which is great in the refining process. 

The following day we played it to the others on the retreat and although it felt incomplete, I think everyone felt there was something powerful captured in it. As it turned out, we dropped the original chorus & wrote two more versions, the second of which is what it is now - Ben had the melody and the ‘All for Love’ idea which felt like it tied the song together and we worked out the right lyrics. We tried it out at church and had a couple of different bridge ideas but you can always tell if something doesn’t quite fly (although they were good sections!). Again, Ben brought the now bridge melody idea and it felt like it just set the song into it’s place and that we had a good balance of revelation and response. We worked hard on the journey too and in the end had to write two choruses to follow the journey of the song (e.g. you can’t sing, “it is finished” until you talk about His death in verse three).

I loved being a part of this song. I often feel very emotional when I sing it. Our hope that is, through what we’ve tried to capture, people may grasp the enormity of this decision and the depth of Jesus’ love. That’s what we live for.