Mid-Lenten Wake Up Call
Read: Isaiah 58:1-9
"Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?" —Isaiah 58:6-7
Reflection: It was easy to sign up for the Fast from Fast Food, because I don’t really eat fast food. Sometimes when I travel or when the kids get a smoothie treat, but otherwise it’s not high on my menu options.
So the fast was a symbol of my support of fast food workers, but didn’t mean much for me personally. I haven’t sacrificed anything, and while I’ve been mindful to think of workers and their families, the fast didn’t have much to do with God and his call for why the fast—this fast—is so important.
That all changed when I realized I had to sacrifice one of my favorite treats of the year – the Shamrock Shake. Once a year, my family hits the drive-through at McDonald’s and each of us gets one shake each. We come home and eat it together, sometimes outside in spring weather, chatting and looking at the budding daffodils. I love this tradition. I also love the minty cold goodness of the shake.
This year I had to explain to my kids and husband (who was almost more bummed than the kids) that we couldn’t get our traditional shamrock shakes. This year, we talked about why I had signed up for the fast, how companies can do better to their workers, and how this all ties back to God and how we fast as a part of our worship. The passage from Isaiah reminds us that a proper fast requires mindfulness, yes, but also sacrifice and good works to fight injustice and care for others.
God is calling my family to worship him. The Fast from Fast Food is a call to action, an action that requires sacrifice of things that we love, and that we have to work to make our world a better place. Fast food workers, and millions of other workers, are suffering. Right now. But I, and my family, are with them and will support them in every way we can.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am. —Isaiah 58:6-7
So, sorry Shamrock Shake. Not this year. Our substitute is to crush Thin Mints into vanilla ice cream, but no one is convinced it will be the same. Our hearts are light knowing that we are fasting for something that is right, and that God will answer our call. What have you sacrificed in the Fast from Fast Food? What else can you do during the fast to help fast food workers?
By Aina Gutierrez, Interfaith Worker Justice
Prayer: God, I am fasting from fast food to honor you and your beloved kingdom. I pray that my thoughts, words and actions in the fast are known to you. I call for your help to soften the hearts of corporate leaders to treat fast food workers with the dignity they deserve. Amen.