A couple of years ago I wrote this for a Greenbelt installation called ‘The Kiss of God’. It was posted on a Cambridge site for a time, but as I just noticed it might be archived I’m posting it here so I don’t lose it. I’m a bit of a hoarder of old bits of writing.
You must remember this. A kiss is still a kiss…
Late evening, a mother looks in on her sleeping child. Asleep, children look even younger than they are – small, innocent, defenceless. At the sight of that soft face all the weariness of the day falls away, and every mistake and naughtiness, all the endless attention-grabbing, are forgiven in an instant. She leans over to place a kiss on his perfect little face – gentle, careful so as not to disturb, and so full of tenderness and love that her heart nearly bursts.
There are many kinds of kiss. The kiss of a long-time friend brings the uncomplicated warmth of nearness to someone you love – a kiss born of shared history, and a kiss that promises a future. The unexpected kiss, the spontaneous kiss of a child, the unsought kiss of a lover, the comedy of a hammed up air-kiss – kisses to pick up your whole week. A kiss can be soft and tender, deeply romantic, exciting and reckless; a kiss can be given, it can be stolen.
But there are kisses that are not all they seem – fake kisses that may have nothing to do with love or friendship. The polite kiss of conventional greeting – a kiss you are obliged to receive, but may not trust. The Judas kiss – the kiss of betrayal – feigns affection and comradeship whilst veiling back-stabbing treachery, or promises lifelong love whilst secretly playing away.
What kind of kiss is the kiss of God? It’s the kind of kiss that Jesus would have given: no treachery, no lies, no unrealisable promises, no vacuous insincerity. His is the kiss of comedy, the kiss of laughter, the kiss of a friend who has shared your past and promises you a future. It’s a kiss that brings every fibre of your being alive, turns your stomach over, sends goosebumps up your spine. It’s a kiss that forgives your misdemeanours and smiles at your mistakes, a kiss placed softly on your face in the night by a God whose heart is bursting with love for you. It’s a kiss that deep down in your soul you have always known was there waiting for you, the kiss that you have dreamed of rediscovering. You must remember this…
Song title “You must remember this”: Herman Hupfield (copyright 1931 Warner Bros. Music Corp., ASCAP)