Thoughts for the Day

Friday, 19th May 2023: Saint Dunstan 910-988 CE

Saint Monk Exodus 31 Saint Dunstan

Reading : Verses from Exodus, Chapter 31

Saint Dunstan

The Lord spoke to Moses: See, I have called by name Bezalel son of Uri son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: and I have filled him with divine spirit, with ability, intelligence, and knowledge in every kind of craft, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, in every kind of craft.

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


In our reading from Exodus we see that Bezalel as a skilled craftsman is called to help make items for the portable sanctuary that will carry the Ark of the Covenant which holds the stone tablets on which were inscribed the Ten commandments.

Similarly Dunstan was called by God. His gifts were to lead him to be Archbishop of Canterbury, but he is revered for the reforms he brought to the monastic life initially, and later to the whole of the English Church. He was born near Glastonbury and after time at the court of the King of Wessex left, becoming a monk at Glastonbury Abbey, where he was later ordained. For some time he became a hermit, devoting his time to prayer, to illuminating manuscripts, creating music, and working with metal. He was appointed Abbot of Glastonbury by King Edward I, and later Archbishop of Canterbury, during which time he restored discipline to several monasteries, and promoted worship, study and teaching.

We are not all going to become monks or nuns today, but perhaps we can find time in our busy lives to go on a retreat once a year, initially just for a day. Retreats are time out of the ordinary day - time to reflect, perhaps to be still, to refresh the soul. They can be silent; they can be creative; they can be thought provoking. We can learn about and experience using icons; or we can explore nature; or we can fill our souls with music. The choice is endless. The point is to direct our gaze on God for a day, perhaps through an activity; to banish the trivia of the day; and to return home physically and spiritually refreshed.


Lord Jesus Christ,
as Dunstan saw the value
of withdrawing from the world,
and of using his hands and voice
to praise You,
may we too learn to step away
from everyday life for a while,
to reflect, re-evaluate, and refresh
our souls.

Follow Up Thoughts

If you would like to find out more about going on a retreat, look at this site - there are some amazing places and short or long retreats. If you're serious about a retreat and can't afford one, ask your minister for financial help, many have a "slush" fund (sorry, it's what I always called it) to support lay development. Apologies to those not in the UK, let me know of any good centres where you are.

If you would like to learn a little more about Dustan this site is helpful:

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