Acts 1:1-11 • Psalm 47 or Psalm 93 • Ephesians 1:15-23 • Luke 24:44-53

"While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, 'Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.'" Acst 1:10-11

Today is Ascension Day on the Christian calendar. When it comes to high holy days I think this one is largely underrated. There isn’t much fanfare in the Protestant world for this one. And yet, as I think more and more about it I think it really ought to rank as second most important behind Resurrection Sunday.

This quote from the “men” often understood to be angels from Acts 1:11 is why I think it’s such an important day and moment in the story of Christ. It’s at this moment that the story shifts from what Jesus does (or had done) and is now firmly focused on the activity of his followers. With Jesus ascension to the right of God, it is now time for the followers of Jesus to act.

“Why do you stand looking up toward heaven?”

It seems to me that so much of my Christian life as been me looking up toward heaven. I think I do this by spending so much time thinking and worrying about doctrine and theology. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that. But, in Jesus words, in so many ways I fear that I’ve become a “hearer of the word” as opposed to a “doer of the word.” I think when we look at a lot of church communities we see this play out in the proliferation of programs. Most everything done in churches has to with the mind and the acquisition of information. Wednesday night classes, Sunday School, and Bible studies are all about the mind. Very little has to do with being present in the neighborhood.

I and perhaps you need to hear again the question from the day of ascension, “Why do you stand looking up toward heaven?”

Oh, that we would get our heads out of the clouds and look around at the world we find ourselves and learn to love well.

clouds on a bluesky