YOU never know what you’re eating these days.
It’s a comment we’ve heard a lot lately, with all the stories, real and imagined, about what is getting into our food.
And then different cultures eat things which others wouldn’t touch - think horse, dog, sauerkraut - and last week was Burns Night - did you enjoy your haggis?
In my readings I’ve been doing Leviticus, you know, the book in the Old Testament with all those laws about what you can and can’t eat, what to wear, and how to sow your crops.
Now you may think what’s the point of all that for us in this day and age, and should we be calling things, and even people, ‘clean’ or ‘unclean’?
But then don’t we have even more regulations about food nowadays.
Of course we talk about sell-by dates, temperatures and keeping cooked and uncooked meats separate, but hygiene and purity are the main concerns.
And the ‘unclean’ animals which we shouldn’t eat?
‘Taboo’ might be a better word, and could that be God’s way of putting a hedge of protection round certain species for their conservation; perhaps we might not be having problems with the badgers if we’d stuck to that.
Looking deeper though, it’s not just hygiene, purity or even conservation, but what Leviticus calls being ‘holy as God is holy’.
Now if that’s lifting everything onto some sort of ‘spiritual plane’, it’s very much an earth focussed spirituality, with respect for people and community as well as nature.
There’s plenty of community-mindedness in there, with provision for those needing a hand up, periodic cancellation of debts, and employment carefully regulated, long before our welfare states and big societies.
And we’re only just getting back to realising that the whole person is important, without making a distinction between the ‘physical’ and the ‘spiritual’ - instead of complaining, I’d be quite glad if doctors did offer to pray with me: it would show that they were concerned about my complete health situation.
So perhaps it is care for the whole person, and community, and not just petty regulations about food.