Roughly 20 years ago, Helen and I attended the wedding of a close friend. It was quite a traditional service until the final walk down the aisle, whereupon the groom and bride were accompanied by a recording of Fatboy Slim’s “Praise You”. The song which includes the lyrics “we’ve come a long long way together, in the hard times and the good", could easily speak either of the bond between partners, or of that between us and God.
Certainly the words; “the hard times and the good” could be used to describe the experiences of the Israelites in their flight from Egypt and journey towards the promised land. Last Sunday, we reflected on the praise expressed by Miriam, the elder sister of Moses. She had already seen God at work, when her baby brother, floated out in the bulrushes for fear that he would be killed, was taken in by Pharoah’s daughter and raised in the royal household. Our short reading, later on in the book of Exodus, featured her song of praise when witnessing God again in action; the saving not simply of a baby boy, but of a nation. For when fleeing from the Egypt, God rescued them from the chasing army who were consumed by the waves of the formerly parted sea.
I don’t know whether we find ourselves in hard times or the good at present, but my prayer would be that regardless, we might be moved to praise our God, difficult though it might sometimes be, for as the letter to the Hebrews reminds us;
Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.