Written by Vicki Kemper
Give me an undivided heart to revere your name. I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart. - Psalm 86:11-12
There's undivided, and then there's complete. There's whole, and then there's overflowing with radiant joy.
Sister Helen of the Eucharist has been a nun for 67 years. That's a lot of time to revere God's name. "You were not born," she says, "and I was already a nun."
She was nine years old when she wrote a letter to her parents saying she wanted to enter the convent; now she is 85. She loves Christ's body and blood so much that she made it part of her name.
"I have a banquet every day," she smiles.
She spends the better part of each day praying and singing, reading and doing a little manual labor.
For most of us, "undivided" can sound both boring and scary. We worry about what we might miss if we gave more of our heart to God. It can be hard to imagine a life in which God alone is enough.
Sister Helen had plenty of opportunities, but the one she constantly chose and re-chose was the path to God's heart. She believes our desire for God is more important than the path we take. She knows the joy of the chase and the wholeness that comes from perpetual praise.
"I am extremely happy," she says.
We don't have to leave the world to develop an undivided heart. We needn't live behind cloistered walls to become whole. And who says life with God can't be fun?
Sister Helen of the Eucharist, a former left-handed tennis champion, still loves to play.
"I have a Frisbee," she says.
For Frisbee-throwing nuns, I give you thanks with my whole heart. May I know such joy in following you.
Vicki Kemper is the Pastor of First Congregational, UCC, of Amherst, Massachusetts.