Our calendar hangs on the kitchen wall, and it’s pretty blank at present, for obvious reasons. In continuing lockdown, if we’re not careful, featureless days succeed one another with little differentiation. Occasionally I stop and wonder what day of the week it is! But today will be plant pots day, as a selection of bedding plants arrived yesterday from the garden centre. Some normal summer things just have to happen!
But although our calendar may be empty, the Church’s calendar isn’t. Today is St Dunstan’s day. Slightly obscure to many in the C21st, Dunstan was a Saxon monk from Somerset who became archbishop of Canterbury in the late C10th. He lived and worked at Glastonbury abbey, becoming abbot in 943 AD; there he began to reform and restructure monastic life, returning the community to the principles set out by the founder of European monasticism, St Benedict, in his 'Rule'. Appointed by King Edgar as bishop of Worcester, then London, and finally as archbishop of Canterbury, Dunstan played a significant part in national life. Legend records him being a skilled metalworker, and one story rather beautifully has him pinching the Devil’s nose with metalworking tongs.
From over a thousand years ago, Dunstan reminds us the Church needs clear leadership and administration, and a focus on the core tasks of prayer, worship and service to those in any kind of need. No less today than then!