As a guest of the 2017 ALCM Conference in Minneapolis, I was honored to receive one of the inaugural sabbaticals from LutheranArts. Through the support of this grant, I was able to spend a week at the Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center in Carefree, AZ, enjoying the natural beauty and peace of my surroundings.
Out of gratitude to Augsburg University, which provided funding in memory of Leland Sateren, renowned composer and longtime conductor at Augsburg, I elected to spend my time in Arizona writing a new choral anthem for the Augsburg Choir. Justin Lind-Ayres, one of the campus pastors at Augsburg, agreed to write the text. The resulting collaboration, "Behold the Neighbor," is inspired by the parable of the Good Samaritan and urges all to be a neighbor to their fellow humans: "Traverse the road; O heart be opened. See the stranger; O soul be woken. Bridge the chasm; O strength be renewed. Touch the outcast; O mind be transformed.”
"Behold the Neighbor" is available at https://www.philipbiedenbender.com/store/behold-the-neighbor/.
A performance video by the Augsburg Choir is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4pDeDBbWi4&feature=youtu.be.
Thank you to ALCM, LutheranArts, and Augsburg University for providing this opportunity and sponsoring the creation of new art in service to our Creator.