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Dusting Off the Old Hymn Book
The Garden
The Hymn that Breathed Life into Buckís Funeral
by psychologist, Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, aka, Dr. BLT

Welcome Phantom Tollbooth visitors, to the first review in my new series called Dusting Off the Hymnal.  The hymn I am about to explore with you is one that has always touched my heart, but as the years have passed, it has increasingly come to hold special meaning for me.  Before proceeding, feel free to hear and download (for free) my own personal rendition, featuring a one-man trio, made up of me, myself and I (along with a little guitar accompaniment from yours truly):

The Garden
Dr. BLTrio

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 voice we share
as we tarry there 
none other has ever known...
It's deeply precious, deeply spiritual and deeply personal song.  Moreover, I've never heard such an intimate, poignant, heartfelt rendition of this old hymn as the one delivered by Dwight Yoakam at the funeral of legendary country star, Buck Owens on April 2, 2006 in my hometown (and Buck's hometown of Bakersfield, California).  There is no way to overstate the beauty of the hymn, In the Garden, a timeless classic penned by Charles Austin Miles way back in 1913.  Furthermore, there is no way to overstate the impact of this particular rendition.    
From the moment he sang the first note, it was as if there was no space and there was no time, only the "peace that passeth all understanding," and the comfort that can only be bestowed upon oneís soul by the intimate presence of the divine Savior, Jesus Christ our lord.  
Here's the story behind the inspiration for the hymn, spoken by Miles himself: 
I read the story of the greatest morn in history.  The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, while it was yet very dark, unto the sepulcher.  Instantly, completely, there unfolded in my mind the scenes of the garden, where out of the mists comes a form, halting, hesitating, tearful, seeking, turning from side to side in bewildering amazement.  Falteringly, bearing grief in every accent, with tear-dimmed eyes, she whispers, 'If Thou has borne Him hence.' He speaks, and the sound of His voice is so sweet the birds hush their singing.  He said to her, "Mary!" "Just one word and forgotten are the heartaches, the long dreary hours, all the past blotted out in His presence.  

In the Garden is based on the following scriptural passage:  

John Chapter 20: 15 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. 
Can you imagine such a scene? A weeping Mary thought she was encountering the gardener, when in fact, it was Jesus Christ---the very savior she assumed was still dead.  He was in fact the gardener­but not the mortal man she had in mind---He was the Great Gardener of the Soul---the living Savior who died and rose again.  At the same time, He was the greatest flower in the garden, the one who would become known as the Rose of Sharon.  

If you are weeping in the garden of life, this song will show you the way to the resurrected Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  No matter how great your burden is, He will take it from you.  He will dry your tears and put a smile on your face. If thatís not a great reason to have a garden party, I donít know what is.     


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