a thousand kisses deep

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For lovers of Leonard Cohen, a “thousand kisses deep” is an amazing poem/song (song is here) measuring the relationship between lovers. What if it was used as a different sort of measure? Our knowledge of one another is superficially assessed within twenty seconds. Apparently – and worryingly – we are only right 70% of the time. 70% may sound first class but for the 30% misjudged, denied jobs, shut out that statistic can be disastrous.

Us clergy, ministers, community developers and planners come and go. Sensibly we audit our place before forming opinions – but the data is skewed by preconceptions and historic artefacts of superficial excavation. What if we went a thousand kisses deep?

Down into the passions, convictions, emotions of successive generation and regeneration we would go. On our cheeks the hot breath of passion and the tears of betrayal. Lips caressing disconsolate children, the embrace of neighbours in the face of disaster, the kiss for a bereaved friend for whom there are no words. Seamly and unseemly: love denied and love made – our findings from a thousand kisses deep. Mining, owning, knowing.

Ricky Yates helpfully reminds us of the great store we set by outward appearance, and our use of image consultants. We remember Hyacinth Bucket (Bouquet) in long-running TV comedy Keeping up Appearances. For her, attraction was but a surface veneer – with relationships barely a peck deep. But, as Ricky says, the Lord doesn’t look on the outside, but on the inside (Mark 7:15) – a thousand kisses deep, at least!

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