The year was 1924. Ingvald said good-bye to Bertha and his two preschool-aged sons, and set sail from Norway to America. It was the land of promise. Life was bleak for Ingvald and his young family if they stayed in Norway.
Ingvald promised Bertha and their two sons that when he found a job and a home in America, he would send for them. It was a tearful departure and the next year was most difficult for Bertha and the boys. The cupboards were often bare, but mostly they were lonesome for their husband and father. They waited day after day and month after month for Ingvald to send for them.
They did not despair, however. They waited with a sure and certain hope. They trusted Ingvald to keep his promises. The letter they were waiting for came in late 1925. Ingvald arranged for them to come to the land of promise and once again be united. It was a joyful celebration. Life was not easy, but it was good.
The story of Bertha and Ingvald is a window to our text for today. You and I wait for our Lord to return and, in the language of one our liturgies, we wait with a sure and certain hope.
Come, Lord Jesus. Come quickly. Amen!
Luke 21:25-36 (NRSV)
25 [Jesus said:] "There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
26 "People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
27 "Then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in a cloud' with power and great glory.
28 "Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."
29 Then he told them a parable: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees;
30 "as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near.
31 "So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.
32 "Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place.
33 "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
34 "Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly,
35 "like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth.
36 "Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man."