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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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'We have this treasure'

Global music lifts Luther's 21st-century church

Planning for a week as the musician at Holden Village, I often thought about the 2009 summer theme from 2 Corinthians 4:7: "We have this treasure." I began to imagine the vast treasures that have recently come our way from around the world — songs from Tanzania and Singapore, liturgical music from Guatemala and China, and much more.

Gourds and bean pods from Cameroon
Gourds and bean pods from Cameroon and a hand drum from India are some of the traditional instruments that accent the rhythms of global music.
Singing this music has become important to me over the past years. When I hear global music alongside the European and North American hymns I learned as a child, I often hear new things in both. When I teach and lead music from this global treasure, I often find my musical and spiritual life is deepened and enriched.

"World music at Holden provides a welcome challenge," said Kris Freeman, a member of St. John United Lutheran Church, Seattle. "Just as Lutheranism started in Germany and spread all over the world, so now we can listen to our brothers and sisters around the world." She was among those who were at the Chelan, Wash., ecumenical retreat center that is rooted in the Lutheran tradition during the week I was musician.

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