Hymn #24: In the Garden

Lyrics: C. Austin Miles, 1912.

Music: C. Austin Miles, 1912.

Theme: When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means, Teacher).
John 20:14-16.

The story of the writing of this hymn.

Jennifer, Snapshot: “I help with our church’s nursing home service and the oldtimers love this one, so it’s become one of my favorites too.”

John MacArthur: “Those lyrics say nothing of any real substance, and what they do say is not particularly Christian. It’s a mawkish little rhyme about someone’s personal experience and feelings. Whereas the classic hymns sought to glorify God, gospel songs like “In the Garden” were glorifying raw sentimentality.”

Brenda: “I love the vision this hymn brings to my mind, a little glimpse of Heaven as well as bringing peace to troubled souls.”

Joseph Holbrook, Jr.: “America’s all-time religious favorite, ‘In the Garden,’ has done the worst in fostering the I-me-myself version of Protestantism in our country.”

Cecelia: “This was one of my beloved Grammy’s favorite hyms and I love knowing that God will walk and talk with me, calling me His own!”

Nothing like a little controversy to liven up this hymn countdown. I won’t say which side I lean toward, but I will say that a little sentimentality never hurt anyone.

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.

Refrain:
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,
Tho’ night around me be falling,
But He bids me go;
Thro’ the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling.

4 thoughts on “Hymn #24: In the Garden

  1. I never knew this was based on Mary. That sheds a whole new light on it.

    It’s only been in recent years I heard that anyone felt so negatively against it. It’s not my favorite, but I don’t think it is “mawkish,” either. When I used to be in a nursing home ministry, this song was always requested.

  2. I remember my grandmother and mother singing this from when I was just a little girl. It was one of my grandmother’s favorites, and I’ve always loved it for that reason.

  3. While it may evoke feelings of sentiment, if you read Miles’ own account in his own words of how it was written, and you read the Bible passage to which he refers with his story in mind, the song opens up in a whole new way. It’s not just sentiment, it’s putting yourself in Mary’s place, thinking that Jesus was dead, imagining hearing Him speaking your name, turning, knowing it was Him, and the thought that today we can each have a personal relationship with God that makes this song so special.

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