Text: Acts 1:1-11
It is a simple fact that in any story or drama not every part can be the lead and not every line can be Shakespearian in quality. Sometimes a character is assigned the necessary task of saying or asking the obvious in order to keep the action moving. And when it comes to the Bible, angels are the ones who get to speak these odd lines.
For example, when Hagar and her son Ishmael are cast out into the wilderness by a jealous Sarah, the moment comes when Hagar gives up as dehydration saps the life of her child. She places him under a bush to die and then goes off a distance to weep. Just then the angel of the Lord appears and asks, “Hagar, what’s the matter?” (Genesis 21:17) Yes, ladies, I do believe the angel was male.
Another bizarre angelic question appears in our scripture reading today. In Acts 1 we get a recap of the forty days following Jesus’ resurrection. At the end of this period, Jesus takes his followers outside of Jerusalem where he is suddenly lifted by a cloud into the heavens. As the disciples stare up into the sky at the strangely airborne Jesus, two angels happen by and ask, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up towards heaven?” Of all the unnecessary questions ever uttered in the annals of literature, asking why people are looking up at a man who has just taken off like Space Shuttle, without the shuttle part attached, would rank right at the top of the list. Only creatures who can fly themselves would find the ascension of Jesus such a humdrum affair.