Dear friends,

Happy St. Dunstan’s Day! May 19 is the day on the Church calendar set aside to remember our patron saint. I have to admit that when I first applied to be rector of St. Dunstan’s I had to look him up. I found that he was the Archbishop of Canterbury in the 10th century. He is known for seeking better education for the clergy, restoring former monasteries and starting new ones, and reviving the monastic life for women.

Dunstan was also a skilled blacksmith and caster of bells, which is why we have wrought iron candlesticks and the bell in the narthex.

The most interesting tidbits about Dunstan are apocryphal, including that tweaked the devil’s nose with hot tongs. The myth is remembered in this rhyme:

St. Dunstan, as the story goes,
once pull'd the devil by the nose
with red-hot tongs, which made him roar,
that he was heard three miles or more.

Another story is that Dunstan was asked to reshoe the devil’s cloven hoof. He nailed a horseshoe to the devil’s foot, causing the devil great pain. Dunstan agreed to remove the shoe after the devil promised never to enter a place where a horseshoe is over the door. And so we now have the lucky horseshoe.

This is the prayer for St. Dunstan:

O God of truth and beauty, you richly endowed your bishop Dunstan with skill in music and the working of metals, and with gifts of administration and reforming zeal: Teach us, we pray, to see in you the source of all our talents, and move us to offer them for the adornment of worship and the advancement of true religion; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Remember that this Sunday is Pentecost, the day that the disciples receive Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit. Wear something red (the symbolic color for the Spirit) to church.

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