I just finished our nighttime ritual of songs in our big bed before putting Mercy down to sleep in her room. As we were lying next to each other, Mercy reached out and began to trace her finger over my eyebrows. It was yesterday that she discovered eyebrows, apparently for the first time. It was like all of a sudden she noticed the furry little patches that live above our eyes, and since then she has been fascinated.
One of the delights about having children is that you have a front row seat to their development and discoveries. I am sure it never occurred to me that there was a moment when I first comprehended that eyebrows were a part of the human face; that I had happily lived in utter ignorance of these visible and expressive features. Until, like my daughter, something led me toward their discovery and suddenly they became a part of my world.
There is much in the culture and conversation of the church that, as my husband likes to say, is not merely inaccessible to those outside the church, but completely off the radar of the genuinely unchurched among us. Yet we are tempted to believe that somehow, apart from a context of relationship and authentic involvement, we can somehow “target”, “meet the needs”, and “engage” those in our midst who do not know and follow Christ. I think those of us in the church would do well to remember that what can feel and seem so clear and obvious (like eyebrows) can in fact sit in total obscurity for someone else. And that sometimes the things we spend our time and money in the church “plucking and coloring” so to speak have virtually no impact because, not only are they unimpressive to unchurched eyes, they are simply invisible.