“…she turned around and saw Jesus standing there…” John 20:14
Most of you are probably familiar with the hymn, In the Garden, but you may not know how it came to be written. This story of it’s origination comes from the book, Then Sings My Soul, by Robert J. Morgan.
The author of the hymn was a pharmacist named C. Austin Miles. He began writing gospel songs and became an editor of hymnals and songbooks, as well as a music director for camp meeting, conventions and churches. His hobby was photography and he found his darkroom to be the perfect place to read the Bible and meditate on the Scripture. One day in 1912, while waiting for some film to develop, he turned to his favorite chapter of the Bible, John 20, the story of the first Easter. Here’s his report of what happened:
“As I read it that day, I seemed to be part of the scene …A woman in white, with head bowed, hand clasping her throat as if to choke back sobs, walked slowly into the shadows. It was Mary. As she came to the tomb, upon which she placed her hand, she bent over to look in and hurried away. John appeared…then came Peter….As they departed, Mary reappeared, leaning her head upon her arm …She wept. Turning herself, she saw Jesus standing; so did I. I knew it was He…..Under the inspiration of this vision I wrote as quickly as the words would be formed the poem exactly as it has since appeared. That same evening I wrote the music.”
I never knew until I read this book that the hymn was referring to the meeting of Mary Magdalene and Jesus in the garden after His resurrection. Here are the words:
I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.
He speaks, and the sound of His voice,
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.
I’d stay in the garden with Him
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling.
Does the story of the hymn, and the Scripture put a fresh perspective on the words for you?