Why Do You Stand There Looking Into the Sky?

By Deidra Riggs

April 28, 2019

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

Acts 1:9


This year, my husband and I chose to celebrate Easter at a church in our town and oh, what a celebration it was! The music was fierce, the church was packed, and the clergy were all dressed — from head to toe — in colorful and majestic regalia. To top things off, a team of people calling themselves the Worship Arts Ministry had gone to great lengths to present a dramatic retelling of the Easter story in the form of a musical.

A green field at dawn.As the presentation unfolded, it was clear this team had put in hours and hours of work to deliver a true spectacle of worship and talent. There were dancers and singers. There was rapping and there were hymns. There were lighting effects and sound effects.

By far, however, the moment with the most impact was watching a dreadlocked Jesus ascending into the air above the congregation—and straight out of the sanctuary through a hole in the ceiling! I leaned forward in my seat and craned my neck to watch Jesus disappear into the heavens of the ceiling tiles in the church!

Of course I knew there were ropes and pulleys and a harness involved. I knew this Jesus was actually a regular guy. I wasn’t even sure if his dreadlocks were real or a wig on his head, chosen for this particular performance. But still…

What must the disciples have thought, the day Jesus was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight? The writer of Acts hints at their amazement in the next two verses:

They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky?” (Acts 1:10-11)

With all due respect to the author of Acts, I doubt anyone could possibly capture the feelings of the disciples who stood, looking into the sky. At the very least, one of them must have said, “Wow!”

I said, “Wow!” in church on Easter Sunday, as I watched an ordinary guy lifted into the ordinary ceiling of an ordinary church. Then, the next day at work, I told a bunch of my coworkers about what I had seen. Some people said, “Wow!” too. Others said, “Meh.” And some were not impressed at all. Isn’t that the way it goes? And yet, we keep telling the story of what we have seen, and what we’ve experienced, and the hope it gives us, on every ordinary day.

Something to Think About:

When was the last time something made you say, “Wow!”?

Something to Do:

Go outside and look up at the sky. Look for as long as you can. How does it feel? What do you see?


God, you are a wonder. You are full of surprises and fun and joy. Thank you for inviting me to a full life that never ceases to amaze me. Amen.


Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary:
An Orienting Vocation for the Kingdom of God (Acts 1:8)

Deidra Riggs

Writer & Author

Deidra Riggs is a national speaker, an editor, and the founder and host of Jumping Tandem: The Retreat, a bi-annual event for writers, authors, and entrepreneurs. She is a storyteller who creates safe space for navigating...

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