A Vision and a Song from Doe’s Kitchen
My grandparents, Reverend W.L. and Virginia Keeney, taught me as a child that God is love. As children my sister and I nicknamed my grandmother “Doe” (a deer, a female deer) because she was so sweet and kind. The name stuck and the whole family referred to her as Doe throughout her life. Over the years I have met both of my grandparents in vision many times, but recently I have found myself visiting my grandmother’s kitchen in particular. It has become one of my spiritual classrooms.
A few months ago I dreamed that Hillary and I took our students to my grandparent’s house in St. Joseph, Missouri. We had each of them stand outside the house and look through my grandparents’ kitchen window. We observed our students being shown something in my grandmother’s kitchen.
The next night I saw the rope to God as large as I have ever seen it. It was large enough to hold a white country church that I saw high in the sky, along with clouds that sheltered many angels. The rope intermittently flashed with lightning and was filled with extraordinary praise and song. I thought that an amazing shower of blessings was taking place. I was filled with the Holy Spirit and song.
Days after these dreams, I went to a spiritual classroom where the sacred emotion received was so strong that I wept for over an hour when I woke up. I was sent again to my paternal grandmother’s kitchen in the parsonage they lived in that I remember as a young boy. I sat at her kitchen table facing her oven with Hillary on my left side and my mother on the right. My grandfather was also there standing and looking over us all at the other end of the table. My grandmother chopped many vegetables and placed them in a clear plastic bag that she sat in the middle of the table. It was a large bag, perhaps two feet tall.
As I stared into the vegetables of many shapes, sizes, and colors, I was surprised to see that they had somehow fallen together in such a way that musical notes were created. Suddenly a keyboard appeared on the table in front of me and I began playing this uncommon musical score. As I played it, my family began to sing. Then my other relatives arrived in the kitchen including my sister and finally, my father. They walked into the room out of the air and through the ceiling. Soon my whole family was singing this old hymn, “In the Garden,” a favorite of my grandmother. As my emotion continued to climb, the vegetable notes disappeared and I was unable to play the keyboard anymore. I could only sing. My whole family sang in unison and the sacred emotion was so strong that I wept from the depths of my soul. I woke up and was still inside the song and emotion. Here is our favorite arrangement of the song, sung by John McNeil who was the pianist for the great gospel singer Albertina Walker:
The Story Behind the Song
The story behind the origin of this great hymn is worth sharing. Its composer, C. Austin Miles (1868-1946) was a pharmacist at the time. He was also an amateur photographer. One day in March, 1912, while in his dark room waiting for film to develop, Miles had a profound spiritual experience in which he saw an incredible vision of Mary Magdalene visiting the empty tomb. He then saw her leave and walk into a garden where she met the Master and heard Him speak her name.
When Miles came to himself his “nerves were vibrating and his muscles tense”; the words to a new song were filling his mind and heart. He quickly wrote out the lyrics to “In The Garden” and later that evening composed the musical score. The song was published that same year and became a theme song of the Billy Sunday evangelistic crusades. After this experience, what he later called a “vision,” he left his profession (pharmacy) and became a hymn writer.
When you receive the gift of a holy song, it will change your life and maybe even your occupation.
– Bradford Keeney