THERE’S a tree on the bottom corner of Bank gardens in Stroud which has been delighting us - and the bees – all summer with its lovely yellow flowers and now with its golden pods.

It’s called the Golden Rain tree or Pride of India (Koelreuteria paniculata).

It symbolises for me the generosity of spirit of the people of Stroud.

I’ve written before about the courtesy of car drivers on our congested roads – how we consistently wait for others to pass obstacles even though it is technically ‘our road’.

A car journey through Stroud and its environs can be punctuated with waves, smiles and nods.

Instead of accruing a feeling of frustration with the parked cars and other obstructions, we often experience a sense of shared purpose and ‘bonhomie’ with our fellow drivers.

Our car driving behaviour is a good example of ‘Charity begins at home’, but the word ‘begins’ is key.

For me, this first step, not just of tolerance, but of a deliberate searching for goodwill in the immediate community is the beginning and basis of a wider expression of understanding and harmony in the world.

But first I feel I need to see and feel this harmony in my life more consistently.

But how?

As a Christian, I turn to the Bible and in particular to the life of Jesus Christ to help me to understand how to achieve this harmony.

Jesus was unequivocal in his teaching and practice of unconditional love.

It could be summed up as, “Love everyone, no matter what” – a demand we find virtually impossible.

But Jesus also repeated over and over that he didn’t do anything of his own volition.

He was in tune with God; listened to God continuously.

We, too, can listen to God to soften our hearts; to be guided to see the good in others instead of the annoyances; to do this more and more until it becomes easier.

Then the harmony that we have shown we are capable of experiencing as car drivers will be seen in the home, the workplace and even the media.