We want to believe that spiritual harm or benefit can be tied to things, to action, to the concrete and external: the right or wrong diet, the careful pursuit of ritual purity, the right or wrong standard of religious observance. But, as Jesus tells us, and as Paul reminds us, “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
That which comes from without is temporal and fleeting, and cannot attach itself to our souls. The soul is the only thing which is eternal, and our own hearts are the only source of division between ourselves and the love of God. Food, having no lasting effect, cannot make us forget our love for God, nor can it inspire us to acts of selfishness, cruelty, or neglect of ourselves, others, or the earth. Only in our own hearts can we forget our love for God, our desire to be united with the divine, and it is only in this forgetting that we lose our way, and sink into a fog of dis-ease and preoccupation.
And, to take a more hopeful view, there is no power on this earth, no ruler so great, no authority so strong, that it can dissolve our relationship with God, the bond we have with our Creator. Ultimately, no matter how much we may desire a simple set of rules and answers to life’s questions, a clear outline of things that we can simply avoid in order to be saved, all that matters is the “still, small voice” of the Holy Spirit, and our response to it.