I have always loved this song, but I never knew the story behind it. Understanding that it is about Mary's encounter with Jesus in the garden after the resurrection make all the verses make more sense to me now. I love that C. Austin. Miles was meditating on John 20 when this vision came to him which caused him to write this hymn.
<< the hymn and me >>
I recall singing this song so many times with my maw maw, at church with my family, and just on my own. It is one that I have nearly memorized, or at least the first verse and chorus. I love the idea of meeting with God and talking with him. Of Him claiming me as His own. I often wished for a full garden with flowers, plants, bushes of all sorts, and wandering paths so that I could live out this hymn.
I never fully understood why he would send me away, as the third verse states. I think for a long time this song, as much as I dearly loved it, separated life for me into two camps. Being with God and doing work. It seemed we would have our "quiet time" and then we would live our day, but the two didn't cross. My understanding was flawed, but often I would simply leave off the third verse and not worry about it. Understanding the circumstances and history of the poem now I get it. Mary had to go tell the others, but of course she would want to stay with Him. I'm grateful to know now that as I go He goes with me.
<< the hymn >>
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, With-in 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.
(C. Austin Miles - word and music)