Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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SSMT report

I completed a segment of Beth Moore’s SSMT a while back (last January, to be honest) and wrote the following. I thought I’d finally share it with you.

Here’s what #4 and I memorized:

I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, have the power along with all the saints to grasp how wide and long and deep is the love of Christ. Eph. 3:18 NIV

I tried to say if for Sister Amy, and I flunked. Couldn’t begin to remember which came first-wide or long or deep. *sigh* Not that it matters and long as I get it’s talking about the unmeasurable size of Christ’s love, but if I’m going to memorize it, I ought it get it right. Right?

Since I was a little, little girl it has always just wiped me out to think that God, the creator of the universe, the being who can with the blink of an eye can make a absolute miracle (Walk on water? Make the dead live? For Him–easy-peasy!) loved us so much He came to earth as a helpless baby in order to save us.

You. And me.

Is there anything that has less control than a baby? The little bundles have to have help to do anything. They can’t eat, drink, bathe, anything without someone to do it for them. They can’t even ask to have it done.

All they can do on purpose is eat and cry, everything else their bodies do naturally. Yet God, who is in total control of everything, put himself in a position where he had no control in order to take our sin.

Amazing! Humbling.

Oh, what a gift.


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Sunday Morning–♫ In the Garden ♫

This is the account of how this beautiful hymn, In the Garden, 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 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.

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, Rabboni! 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.

In the Garden

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.

CHORUS: 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
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe,
His voice to me is calling.

From Susan: There are lots of wonderful new songs and choruses in churches these days. I love the gut level truth they tell about. (Even if you cling to the old standards, you should at least appreciate the new songs.)

But there’s not one new song that I love more than this one. A song that speaks of that wonderous time is history and the moments we can spend with our Lord and Savior even today is amazing.

If you haven’t read the Bible account of Jesus speaking to Mary in the garden recently, read it as soon as possible. You’ll see it in a whole new why. Here’s I’ll make it easy. Click here.