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In the Garden

“In the Garden” was written in 1912 by C. Austin Miles

Austin Miles was a writer of gospel songs.  In 1912 he was asked by music publisher Dr. Adam Geibel  to write lyrics that would be “sympathetic in tone, breathing tenderness in every line; one that would bring hope to the hopeless, rest for the weary, and downy pillows to the dying beds”.  Miles wrote the text as it came to him in a vision and made no revisions to the original draft.  He composed the music later that same night.  

The night he wrote “In the Garden”, Miles said he sat alone and turned to his favorite chapter in the Bible, John 20.  This chapter described when Mary Madeline first saw Jesus after the crucifixion.  In his vision, Miles said he found himself at the entrance of a garden containing a path lined with olive trees.  A woman shrouded in white, who Miles believes was Mary, approached the tomb, sobbed and quickly left.  When Mary returned, she recognized and greeted Jesus by crying “Rabboni!!”.  Miles woke from his vision and found that he was gripping his Bible tightly.  He wrote the words to the hymn “under the inspiration of this vision”.  

Below are some excerpts from John 20 from which this hymn was inspired:

“Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.  There laid Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand”  John 19:41-42

“But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looking into the sepulchre, And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at he head, and hte other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.  ANd they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou?  She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.  And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.  Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou?  She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.  Jesus saith unto her, Mary.  She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.  Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.  Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her”  John 20: 11-18

Other Information:

“In the Garden” was used in the 1984 movie “Places in the Heart” which won two Academy Awards.

“In the Garden” is believed to be the most popular hymn ever written (next to “Old Rugged Cross”).  The increased popularity may be due to Homer Rodeheaver using the hymn multiple times during the Billy Sunday campaigns.  Rodeheaver was a very popular trombonist who lead congressional singing at churches in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  Along with “In the Garden”, Rodeheaver’s most recorded songs included "Mother's Prayers Have Followed Me", "If Your Heart Keeps Right",  “The Old Rugged Cross", "Since Jesus Came Into My Heart", and "My Wonderful Dream"

Lauren Morrow, MT-BC

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