Story: 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 of Joseph….Out of the mists of the garden 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 hast borne him hence”… “He speaks, and the sound of His
voice is so sweet the birds hush their singing.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” Just
one word from his lips, and forgotten the heartaches, the long dreary hours….all
the past blotted out in the presence of the Living Present and the Eternal
Future. (Thanks to cyberhymnal.org)
Another Story: Here is the account of how this beautiful hymn was written—from
the hymn-writer C. Austin Miles himself: One day in April, 1912, 1 was seated in
the dark room, where I kept my photographic equipment and organ. I drew my Bible
toward me; it opened at my favorite chapter, John 20--whether by chance or
inspiration let each reader decide. That meeting of Jesus and Mary had lost none
of its power and charm.
As I read it that day, I seemed to be 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!
My hands were resting on the Bible while I stared at the fight 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. A woman in white, with head
bowed, hand clasping her throat, as if to choke back her sobs, walked slowly
into the shadows. it was Mary. As she came to the tomb, upon which she placed
her hand, she bent over to look in, and hurried away.
John, in flowing robe, appeared, looking at the tomb; then came Peter, who
entered the tomb, followed slowly by John.
As they departed, Mary reappeared; leaning her head upon her arm at the tomb,
she wept. Turning herself, she saw Jesus standing, so did 1. 1 knew it was He.
She knelt before Him, with arms outstretched and looking into His face cried,
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. (tanbible.com)
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