Teaching With Art

Introduction

As a liturgical artist, Jeremy draws much of his inspiration from historic Christian symbolism. Symbols are stories told through familiar images. Wearing his various hats as a theologian, educator, and artist, Jeremy seeks to teach doctrinal themes through visual interpretation.

While occasionally undertaking a solitary painting, Jeremy prefers to develop a theme through creating a series. Past series have explored the Trinity, Medieval Stars, and a re-envisioning of “The 12 Days of Christmas” carol as a modern catechism.

Here is an example of how Jeremy would teach about regeneration from his series on Medieval Stars:

Regeneration

In medieval art, the number of points that a star has tells a different aspect of the gospel message. The eight-pointed star represents regeneration and/or baptism. In this painting, the center star is done in blue with the waves of water baptism visible to the eye. In the corners there is an homage to the artist’s heritage — Jeremy grew up Pennsylvania Dutch. His grandmother taught him to make German paper stars at a young age. Traditionally, these folded paper stars have an additional four points on the top and bottom. But while serving as missionaries in Austria, Jeremy and his family found that the stars didn’t travel well; the top and bottom got easily crushed in their luggage. Without much initial thought, Jeremy and his wife, Anda, redesigned their little creations by cutting off all of the points, save the eight around the center. They made an additional choice to construct them out of recycled materials. Jeremy and Anda wanted to be able to walk up to someone on the streets, hand them a star, and remind them of God’s love for them. After all, God takes the brokenness of human lives, just like the Millers had taken the discarded scraps for their stars, and transforms it into something beautiful. What they didn’t realize at that time was that by removing those extra points, they were creating an 8-pointed star — the very star for illustrating and teaching regeneration! This art reveals and reminds how God can take something old and make it new.

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