The Moment of Truth

Robert F. Turner
Burnet, Texas

From the Spanish bull-ring, where the cool nerve, grace, and skill of the Matador has long been regarded with national pride, comes the expression, "moment of truth."

El Toro and the man! The massive beast, nostrils a flare, goaded to hot fury, perhaps symbolic of all man's foe, is ready to drive a cruel horn into his vitals. In previous charges the man has led the bull closer and closer with the cape - but always to pass. Now the beast must be brought to ground. Skillfully the sword must be placed so that the maddened rush of the bull drives the blade to its destiny. With this savage lunge, the beast dies, or sweeps el Matador aside in a crushing mingle of blood and dust.

The flashing cape, the splendid uniform, the wild cheers of the packed stadium - all glorious, but none kills the bull. Boasts of bill-boards, expectations of the sports writers - all meaningless now. It is the awful "moment of truth." The man is truly El Matador - "the killer" - or is swept to ignominious defeat.

As I contemplate this spectacle I realize how surely we all face our "moment of truth." This generation has scarcely known hardship. Depression is meaningful only to grandparents; and the horrors of war are seen as foreign pro ' ducts, by citizens of a powerful winning nation. How could we face a disastrous national crisis?

We have posed as Christians. Baptized into Christ, we "attend" church, sing, pray, and partake. We say we love God, and acknowledge that God must come first; but rarely is our dedication to this principle fully tested. What knowledge, what moral fiber have we developed by which to meet our spiritual "moment of truth?"

When our practice is questioned do we become angry? Is our defense the flimsy garment of tradition? El Toro cuts swiftly through such. Are we artful winners of our own "straw" arguments? One day we must face a genuine foe. Do we judge ourselves by ourselves? One day God will judge us in righteousness, for eternity; and we will face an awesome, irrevocable and final "moment of truth."

June 1967