Welcome to this Autumn 2018 issue of The New Age.

I have watched Andrew Marr’s History of the World (UK Open University Course). The first of eight episodes was fascinating, but one event thrilled me. The Yangtze River in China floods every now and then causing havoc especially in ancient times. One mighty Chinese emperor ordered a huge dam to be made to stop the water ruining a large part of the country. The next flood simply smashed the dam to pieces and the land suffered as before.

He died and his son became the next Emperor. His son remembered his father’s dilemma and failure, and he ordered a very different solution to this flooding problem. He got thousands of workers to dig deep trenches over a wide area on both sides of the Yangtze River, dug like the branches of a tree. This took most of a year to complete.

When the river next flooded, the water naturally followed the lines of the trenches and dispersed, causing no damage and irrigating the vast land as it flowed. What a different and ingenious solution to a major problem!

While this is true history, it also provides a wonderful spiritual lesson for us. In our own management of how we handle situations we could use force, insistence and raw strength to make certain that we get things the way we want them. Emperor no. 1 method. Or we can collaborate, involve and work towards an agreed solution to whatever it is. Emperor no. 2 method.

Years ago I heard a radio talk on the difference between reacting and responding. They are very different. One looks only to ourselves in reaction against; the other looks towards others in legitimate response.? I do not think Jesus ever once reacted but the gospel story is packed with his loving and wise responses to so many people.

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