I’ve stated in prior posts that I often wake up in the morning with a song in my spirit. This morning, it was the old hymn, “In The Garden.”
In April of 1912, hymn-writer C. Austin Miles was alone in the dark room where he kept his photographic equipment and organ. As he opened his Bible, it opened to the 20th chapter of John – the post-resurrection encounter between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Mr. Miles wrote of a vision he had that day, describing the scene in great detail.
“My hands were resting on the Bible while I stared at the light blue wall. As the light faded, I seemed to be standing at the entrance of a garden, looking down a gently winding path, shaded by olive branches.”
He goes on to share what he saw, ending with:
“I awakened in sunlight, gripping the Bible, with muscles tense and nerves vibrating. Under the inspiration of this vision I wrote as quickly as the words could be formed the poem exactly as it has since appeared. That same evening I wrote the music.”
Mary was distraught as she approached the tomb that morning. She so longed to be near to Jesus (even what she expected to be His lifeless body), that she could not even wait until daylight. She went while it was still dark. Seeing the stone removed from the entrance of the tomb, she ran to tell Peter & John that someone had taken His body.
The men came and saw for themselves that He was gone, and they went home. But Mary stayed.
She was not ready to let go. Her heart was so intertwined with the person of Jesus that she could not bring herself to leave that spot, the last place she had known Him to be.
After a brief conversation with two angels, Mary is addressed by another man, whom she assumes to be the gardener. She does not recognize Him to be the Lover of her soul. Not yet. But then she heard His voice. He uttered to her a single word, the first word He spoke after being resurrected from the dead (at least as far as we know from Scripture). With the utterance of a single word, Jesus made Himself known to her.
He only said one word. Her name. “Mary,” He said.
Immediately Mary recognized His voice and turned to Him. The emotion that must have welled up inside her as she heard that familiar, sweet, comforting, powerful voice call her by name. I imagine that her eyes opened wide and her breath caught in her chest as she realized that it was Him.
May we all find the same sweet, intimate and deep relationship with Jesus that Mary had. The kind of relationship where even when we don’t recognize Him in the circumstances of our lives, His voice is familiar enough to us that when we hear it, we know it is Him, turning to Him as Mary did.
and are listening to My voice;