Truth Shimmers and Squirms and Saves

Truth Shimmers and Squirms and Saves

1 Peter 3:15-18 The Message (MSG)

13-18 If with heart and soul you’re doing good, do you think you can be stopped? Even if you suffer for it, you’re still better off. Don’t give the opposition a second thought. Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy. Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick. They’ll end up realizing that they’re the ones who need a bath. It’s better to suffer for doing good, if that’s what God wants, than to be punished for doing bad. That’s what Christ did definitively: suffered because of others’ sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all—was put to death and then made alive—to bring us to God.


    Where is Christ in my life? Can he be dying and rising at the same time? The pandemic is leveling off so can we now go back to like we were? There are fewer deaths so now we can go back to normal? “White people don’t like us, so why should we like them? When truth comes solely out of our own experience, the experience of our tribe, race, creed, economic status, sexual orientation, and religion we may turn to our opponents with the condescending attitude that “if you were not so sinful, stupid, or wounded you would see all this and agree with me.”

    I have some friends who are Hispanic in origin, all their friends are Hispanic, accept for me, and when they go off on their white brothers I will remind them of the color of my skin, and their response is: ‘Oh, you are only colored white, you are like us,” which is the highest of compliments, for they mean that I understand them and treat them as peers; on the other hand I have been told that I am a “chameleon”, not in a very complementary manner.

    My prayer is that I am a chameleon in finding the truth, for the truth shimmers and squirms and saves–it is not black and white.

    Yesterday I spent the afternoon with some of my young friends in Marin, just hearing them talk of whatever; last night I sat with a young person as he died from the the virus. This virus is not about figures, numbers, it is about pain, a killer that dehumanizes through its pain and isolation. Death in any form is never pretty, for we all die alone; but this is a death that separates and dehumanizes individuals. This virus leaves unseen scars on survivors and society, scars that will linger for years. We need to look it in the eye, face it, live with it, and not hide from it.

    I was called to the Haight as I went to bed, a young man was screaming, wanting to kill himself, he was afraid, and ultimately had to be taken to the hospital, which was a dehumanizing process; when I go to Kaiser, I am treated like royalty, but he has no money, insurance, and is a street kid.

    I had been in all week because of a cold and had to be tested, and one of my friends yesterday kept asking me, “you are sure you don’t have that virus”, and I snapped–“I am not the one running around with all of my friends in a car all over Marin City and the Richmond without a mask,” so  what about you am I safe.”

    I suppose we can set out to seek the truth, to be truthful,but such aspects of searching are likely to be unsuccessful. Truth is not something we seize upon, but rather most often it leaps out from bushes in dark alleys when we are not looking and grabs us by the throat. It seizes us out of the clutches of misery or pride. Truth teases us in our dreams. It will not be manipulated, cogitated or collated by the human mind.

    Jesus said he was the truth and that we should know it and we would be set free. Jesus is like a chameleon. He is not labeled, controlled, stereotyped, but shimmers, squirms, and saves. In his life he demonstrates that truth suffers disbelief, hurts, and dies. And in the end truth saves–on its terms, in its time. Deo Gratias!


Fr. River Sims

P. O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164



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