Empty tomb, risen Jesus in John 20 video

As my first foray into the world of online teaching for a virtual church, I have turned yesterday’s post on John 20 into a video Bible study.

Let me know what you think in (mostly nice) comments below!


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20 thoughts on “Empty tomb, risen Jesus in John 20 video”

  1. Look out, Lee on the Lectionary. There’s a new kid (new kid?) on the block. When I saw 14.29 as the time my first reaction was to think, this will be too long. How wrong could I be. I don’t want to be too effusive and sound like a creep but it was really good. Going to the garden was a great idea (even though a windy day threatened to interrupt the proceedings). Mark? A+

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  2. Wonderful stuff Ian and thank you. Clear, engaging, interesting and all up, a message with filled with hope and ringing with truth. I was struck by your description of the grave clothes and the empty tomb, it was a revelatory God moment that filled me with joy. I do hope there may be further forays.

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  3. Excellent. Very listenable. Enjoyed looking at your garden too.

    I liked the point at the end about the 3 sorts of evidence that back each other up. I had a similar thought about checking out guidance, well it came from watching an old bloke building a new bit of garden wall next door actually. The fluidity of his movements made me think he was very experienced yet he never placed one brick on another without checking with his 3 levels : a plumb line, a bit of string going horizontally and a spirit level. Made me think word of God, word of God, word of God. Is it consistent with what God has said in the bible as a whole, is it consistent with what Jesus does and says in the good news biographies, is it consistent with what the spirit is saying at the moment in my generation and to me? Similar to what we’d always felt about acting on prophecy, ideas, dreams – looking for 2 other clear confirmations. How much more did those dear folks at the tomb need to know beyond all reasonable doubt, enough to make sure that all the future generations, including mine, weren’t going to be led up the garden path for a fantasy of grieving folks. I also like that it was only Mary who actually saw him at the start and the blokes were going to have to take her word for it for a while, (but they were given the cloths to confirm what she said though).

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  4. I loved it, Ian. Your written reflections are always food for thought so, from personal preference, I would probably want to read a written form of the video’s content since the written form allows time to stop and reflect on a point before continuing, which is harder to do with a video. Even though I could have pressed pause, it felt rude to interrupt your flow!

    However, the great advantage of video is the clear reminder of the person generating the words and ideas (rather than disembodied ideas of written words). It was lovely to hear your voice – it adds the warmth that is often hard to convey through the written word.

    Very natural engagement with the camera, too.

    The spoken word format is much more accessible for a wider range of people. I will definitely share this.

    Thank you!

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  5. It is the word come alive through the spoken word, without flash nor affect and it brooks no miriade of relative, subjective, interpreted, interjected, interruptive comments, is beyond scholarlarly cantankerism.
    It shows the need for the spoken word.
    Thank you. Much appreciated.

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  6. Thanks very much for both this and your earlier post about the skills needed for this medium. As someone who is having to fast learn these new skills I’ve found them both very helpful. And I found this was very engaging and powerful.

    I hope it’s not too cheeky to ask you to tell us more about your preparation, and the practicalities of getting it on screen.

    Had you learnt it off by heart? Your eyes didn’t seem to leave the camera, except when the story demanded it, and so when you did, it was very effective.

    Was it all done in just three takes, or have you edited it?

    Were these the first takes or were there earlier ones which didn’t make it to the final video?

    What did you use to record it – phone, webcam, video camera, or what? Was it on a tripod or some other kind of stand?

    I don’t know your usual preaching style, but here you were able to keep very still (I only mention it because I find it difficult). Does that come naturally, or have you worked at it for this medium?

    How does the time taken to prepare this and get it ready for air compare to that for a “traditional” sermon?

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    • Hi Hugh—good questions!

      I didn’t learn a script by heart; because I had spent 2–3 hours writing the blog post, I knew the material well. I cover this issue in my posts about whether or not to use a script in preaching—the more you script, the more you are able to speak without a script! https://www.psephizo.com/preaching-2/to-script-or-not-to-script/

      My aim was to do each section straight off, with no editing. Edits are actually quite distracting. I have done a lot on radio, and when you have a short time you need to memorise your key points, and say it right first time. I make this observation in my earlier post about how to preach for online church.

      I used my crummy old iPhone SE, but with the video set to 4k in the Settings. As Bryan Wolfmueller highlights, sound is key, so I used a plugged in lav mic which gets rid of background sound. I have since learned how to normalise sound in iMovie, so it will be better next time.

      I wouldn’t call this a sermon; it was designed to be a Bible study. I am more animated when I am preaching, but here the aim was to walk through the text verse by verse. I hope it provides material for preachers, as well as being helpful in itself.

      Because this was my first effort, I was learning things all the way along. I would not shoot in shade with a bright sky behind next time, as it washes out the colour. The shoot took me 2 hours to find the spot, set up, work out how to do it, and clear away. The edit took two hours, as I was learning the software from scratch. I hope that overall, in future, once I have the material, I would complete everything in an hour and a half.

      In additional, I spent three hours on the prep, reading, research and writing the previous post.

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      • Thanks very much – it’s so helpful to learn from the experience of someone who is further down the road. And thank you for all you do to help us engage with the Scriptures and live faithfully in the light of them.

        When I preach, I only have minimal notes, but haven’t felt confident in doing that in front of a camera, for fear that there would be too many pauses and hesitations. Maybe I should give it a go!

        May I ask a few more questions?
        Did you write it knowing that you were going to present it to camera, and did that affect the way you wrote it?
        You say that you are more animated when you preach. Does that mean that you would do anything differently (I mean in visual style, rather than in content) if it was going to be part of an online act of worship?

        I share your experience of struggling with software – but presumably that will get easier with familiarity. From your comment I take it you were using iMovie. Do you (or anyone else) have any recommendations for those who aren’t Mac users?

        Now to watch “Learning from Doubting Thomas”.

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  7. Terrific! The historical (i.e. eyewitness?) details, and the intertextual allusions – so many seed-thoughts here! Thank you.
    Btw, have you read Dorothy Sayers’ introduction to the book of her ‘Man Born to be King’?
    One tiny quibble – surely you meant ‘loci’, not ‘locuses’?

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  8. so so good Ian – thankyou

    and to have all that rich Biblical detail at your grasp without notes?!! very impressive

    the gospel shared from ur garden – just perfect 🙂

    si

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  9. Very good – warm, communicative, professional quality and good sound. A talk about Eastern morning makes more sense in a garden than in a kitchen!
    My only quibble was that I didn’t get to snoop around a bit more in your study before you went outside.
    I was in fact going to preach on this passage until the present difficulties threw a spanner in the works, so have been thinking a lot about some idiosyncratic features of this narrative.
    The first is that John mentions only Mary Magdalene coming (erchetai) but, as you remark, the plural verb in v. 2 (oidamen) means she wasn’t alone at the first visit or on first seeing Peter and the beloved disciple. I am reminded here that we often picture Nicodemus’s visit to Jesus as solitary (houtos elthen) but Nicodemus says ‘oidamen’ (3.2), as if he were speaking for more than just himself, and while Jesus does speak to him in the singular (soi), in 3.11-12, he uses the 2nd person plural (lambanete, pistuete, humin). Should we not reimagine that meeting as more of a delegation with Nicodemus as spokesman? That John mentions only Nicodemus here and Mary later may be a sign of his focalising art – or maybe just artlessness. After all, there are aporias in John.
    The sequence of events on that morning, how many women went, who they were and whether there was one party of them or two, is a complicated and uncertain business. Each Easter I look again at John Wenham’s ‘Easter Enigma’ for his proposed reconstruction. (Yes, I know ‘harmonisation’ is a dirty word in some circles, so let us say ‘undesigned coincidences’! Anyway, I will always prefer Bach to Stockhausen.)
    A second point concerns the ‘Hebrew’ (or Aramaic) in the passage. Jesus says ‘Mariam’ in v. 16 (the same form in Luke 10.42), while the narrative says ‘Maria’ in 20.1,11 but ‘Mariam’ in v. 18. I don’t know if there’s any significance in this slight variation, but her reply ‘rabbouni’ (not ‘rabboni’) appears to be a caritative: ‘my dear teacher’ (cf. the blind man in Mark 10.51 who uses the same form of address). Does the preservation of these Aramaic words point back to a pre-written tradition?
    Thanks again for your very helpful work.

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    • Thanks for the completer list of Nicodemus-plurals. Note that not only Nicodemus is a representative figure (a singular who is in a way a plural) but Nathanael is too. And they both begin with N, by no means the commonest of initial letters in a name. And they are both Johannine innovations, which is unusual among the named characters (Lazarus & family; other Judas; Caiaphas not named in Mark). And in both cases, they turn from singular to plural in Jesus’s eyes. I have explored the implications of this elsewhere, but note that both are associated with ‘Israel’ and/or ‘Israelite’ (a singular word which is a plural entity, recalling in Nathanael’s case the single person Jacob who also bore that alternative and more collective name) which is otherwise a vanishingly rare word in John (John the Baptist; Triumphal Entry).

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