img_2088Last week, my husband, Tim, and I had the privilege of watching the Christ Church Regatta, which is a series of races by eight-man crew teams from all of the colleges at Oxford. (Ok, proud mom side note: our son, Ben, is on the Keble College crew team while studying at Oxford this year. Whaaaat in the heck?!!!) There were 65 teams competing over the two days, including one new to me: Jesus College, or Jesus for short.

The Jesus College Boat Club’s official motto is “Walking on Water Since 1815” and the team’s t-shirts read, “Jesus: Believed in by 2.2 billion people.” Clearly they have fun with their name. But the best part for me as I stood on the banks of the River Thames was the occasional cheer that would echo across the water: “Come on Jesus! Go Jesus! You got this Jesus!!!!!” It was so startling at first and I couldn’t help but smile. And then I wondered, what would it be like if we ALL cheered for the actual Jesus like that? Instead of offering up our silent and sometimes worried prayers, what if we shouted encouragement and praise? Can you imagine a church filled with people who walk out of services on a Sunday morning chanting, “JE-SUS, JE-SUS, JE-SUS“? Or if we ended our weekly worship not with a somber “Amen” but with a joy-filled chorus of, “GOOOO GOD!

Not that Jesus needs our encouragement, but I think it might change our prayer life a teensy bit if we altered our approach.

img_2226That diagnosis or illness you’re fighting? “Come on, Jesus!

That challenging relationship you’re dealing with? “You got this, Jesus!

Feeling lost or uncertain about the future? “You can do it, Jesus!

Praying for good news? “Finish strong, Jesus! Push, Push!

When I think of Jesus literally rowing in a boat and us on the sideline cheering him on, it changes the way I envision my God. I kind of have this image in my head of a boat filled with all the human suffering: all of our angst, all of our heartache, all of our hard choices and tough calls, all the uncertainty, all of our sadness and pain. It’s all in there. If you have felt it, been there, lived through it, it is all right there in that boat. And I envision our very human Jesus using every single muscle, every ounce of his human strength to push it over the finish line. Jesus leaving it all out there….FOR US. And when he does, we are literally racing to embrace him at the finish, with shouts of praise and cheers of sheer joy. “YESSSSS! Way to go, Jesus!” Way to go, my rock and my redeemer.

Now, can I get an AMEN!