That’s the motto of the City of Wolverhampton, and we caught a glimpse of the reality of that today as people responded to last night’s riots.
I have long believed that people of the light overcome darkness by living in the opposite spirit. So, even though I can understand why, I struggle with those who resort to anger, violence, prejudice as a reaction to what we’ve seen in our streets, neighbourhoods, cities, nation.
So, how to live in the opposite spirit? Well, if riots are about violence, we live in a way that brings healing. If looting is about theft and destruction then we live in generosity and set about rebuilding. If the anger and violence is anything at all to do with anguish and a lack of meaning and purpose, then we live as those who have hope in our hearts, and work towards seeing our vision of a better society become a reality.
About 2,500 years ago a wise man, a prophet even, said “seek the peace and prosperity of the city...because if it prospers, you too will prosper”. That's what we did this morning as around 100 people, including our elected representatives and council officials, gathered in solidarity, and in practical action to help shop owners affected by last nights disturbances.
500 years later Jesus taught about living in the opposite spirit. He talked about a kind of godly defiance. “if someone hits your right cheek offer them the left, if they take your outer garments, give them your underwear too, if they make you carry a pack one mile, walk two”. It’s not weakness, it’s a sign of strength, a surge of the free spirit that turns the act of darkness on its head, and provides a space for light to shine.
Last night, a group of people showed their disdain of our city with hammers and kicks, with destruction and theft. This morning a group of people showed their love with brooms and gloves, with healing, generosity and love.
Out of darkness cometh light? Hell yeah! LoveWolves.