Several years ago, 6 to be exact, just before my niece Lucy was to turn 14, she flew from Chicago to San Luis Obispo to visit her Auntie Jane for a week. This was a sort of rite-of-passage, a chance for Lucy to form a special bond with the crazy Californian kinsperson her mom calls “Clone.”
During our week together, Lucy and I had a great time visiting sites - the Monterey Aquarium, Morro Rock, the Madonna Inn to name a few. We had a great time doing things - hiking along the beach, kayaking amongst sea lions, doing cartwheels in front of all sorts of bright pink things (that would of course be at the Madonna).
My favorite thing that we did was make a movie. It was late Saturday afternoon, and as Lucy once again watched her dvd of Anchorman I worked on my Sunday sermon, on Mark 5:21-43 (the gospel lectionary text for that day, also the g.l. text for this Sunday btw). Included in this scripture section is the account of Jesus’ healing “the woman with the hemorrhage”. I suddenly got it in my craw that it would be fun to somehow capture that unique healing tale on film. Er…video. Er…computer. Being that I was, and still am, pretty much a luddite, and things technical scare me just about as much as filling out a blank tax form, I was certainly not in a position to satisfy my craw-urge on my own. However there was Lucy, and making films on her computer was, and remains, second nature. (This is of course why we have children today: to handle - and deftly - all our ever-updated computer equipment and needs.)
Making this film was a lark of an idea, there were just two of us to do everything and, we decided, we’d stay at the parsonage to shoot it. So, I first ran to the church to pick up a few “Bible costumes” (somehow they could be used to simulate the crowd the poor bleeding women must battle to get to Jesus’ cloak in order to be healed). On the way home I stopped at the drug store to pick up a box of latex surgical gloves (because doctors were also part of the cast of characters - this woman had visited several and none had been able to help; that’s why she was now seeking Jesus.)
Now we were ready for art to happen! I believe it took us about 10 minutes to shoot everything. We just came up with an idea for a shot and Lucy opened her computer, hit a key, and filmed it. We may have done a couple of takes a few times, but mostly everything was captured on our first try. Whether or not what we got was perfect was moot. It was what came to us in the moment, and that’s why it was used.
It was so much fun to totally develop our telling of the story as we went along, with no agenda about how each next shot needed to be constructed. We were free to stretch our imaginations while staying within the confines and spirit of the text. It was such a fun thing to create this together, as Auntie and Niece.
Lucy then spent maybe an hour, maybe closer to 30 minutes, editing everything. She was a whiz! I realized then just how grateful I am, even though I don’t have kids, to have access to them in my family! :)
Below is the film we came up with: “The Healing.” And tt was so fun to share these fruits of our freewheeling labor in worship the next day! I think we may have foregone any reading of the Mark 5 text and instead went right to this 4-minute visual presentation. I don’t recall what I then talked about in my sermon. Actually, I don’t think a sermon was needed.
I hope you enjoy our work, and especially all the fun, humorous touches we found to make the story livelier and extra-joyful…just as Jesus’ original hearers would most likely have experienced it!
Now go out and making fun, freewheeling, funky (and essentially free) Bible movies of your own! I'm pretty sure it's what Jesus would do!!