“Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly...as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” (Colossians 3:16)
“In the Garden”
Music has power to communicate, inspire, and to change. According to Don Campbell (founder of Institute for Music, Health and Education) music can communicate to us even when we’re not influenced by the words of a song. He says, “Music impacts physiology on a deep, basic level. The human heartbeat is especially attuned to sound-changes in tempo and volume act as natural pacemakers. Breathing slows down or speeds up along with the music.”
“In the Garden” is one of the most beautiful pieces of Christian music ever written. It is one of those songs that demands us to slow down. Take some time in each day to spend time alone with God. It was at a moment like that the writer was inspired to write this magnificent piece. Sometimes the title is rendered by its first line, which I like best, “I Come to the Garden Alone.”
“In the Garden” was written by C. Austin Miles. He was a former pharmacist who served as editor and manager of Hallmark publishers for 37 years. According to Miles’ great granddaughter the song was written, “In a cold, dreary and leaky basement in Pitman, New Jersey that didn’t even have a window in it let alone a view of a garden.”
The song was first published in 1912 and popularized during the Billy Sunday evangelistic campaigns of the early twentieth century by two members of his staff, Homer Rodeheaver and Virginia Asher.
Austin Miles tells when and how he was inspired to write this most inspiring song. “One day in April, 1912, I was seated in the dark room where I kept my photographic equipment, and also my organ. I drew my Bible toward me and it opened at my favorite book and chapter, John chapter twenty. I don’t know if this was by chance or by the work of the Holy Spirit...It was as though I was in a trance, as I read it that day. I seemed to be a part of the scene. I became a silent witness to that dramatic moment in Mary’s life when she knelt before her Lord and cried ‘Rabboni.’
I rested my hands on the open Bible as 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...I awakened in sunlight gripping my Bible with my muscles tense and nerves vibrating, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I wrote as quickly as the words could be formed, the lyrics exactly as it is sung today. The same evening, I wrote the tune.”