The Apostolic Constitutions, dated from 375 to 380 AD, tells us:
When you call an assembly of the Church as one that is the commander of a great ship, appoint the assemblies with all possible skill, charging the deacons as mariners to prepare places for the brethren as for passengers. Let the building be long… In the middle, let the reader stand upon some high place: let him read the books of Moses, of Joshua the son of Nun, of the Judges, and of the Kings and of the Chronicles, and those written after the return from the captivity… and of the sixteen prophets.
The Hebrew word for “Prophet” is “Navy,” fitting. As we look at our Cathedral, we note it is long, as this quote demands. It is also in the shape of a ship. The back of our ship is the Sanctuary. This area is raised just as on a ship where the quarterdeck is. The quarterdeck is isolated from the body of the church as this represents Mount Sinai, where Moses took off his shoes when he saw the burning bush. This is sacred ground.
The church center is the Nave. The navy people, the sailors, “the ὑπηρέται/uperetai,” Greek for under rowers, sit here. When Luke 1:2 speaks of “Ministers of the Word,” “Minister,” translates “uperetai.” The pews look like sailors benches for rowing. We are the rowers.
The church front is the Narthex. Narthex is the plant Prometheus used to bring fire from the gods. Our Narthex is the plant used by us to bring the fire of the Holy Spirit into the world.
The Twenty-sixth Sunday speaks of Eldad and Medad, They were Navy, Uperetai/ministers of the word. Joshua, Son of Nun/fish, complains about this. Moses responds, “”Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the people of the NAME were Navy!” Would that all depart the Narthex, grab fire, and bring it to the world.
The Gospel reading reverses the roles. John/the graciousness of God complains about someone healing people in Jesus’ name. Joshua/Jesus, Son of the fish, (The apostles were fishermen) replies, “”Do not prevent him. Nobody performing a mighty deed in my name can speak ill of me… He wishes all were fishermen, would grab some of that Narthex as they depart Mitte Est/Mass, his presence.
James speaks to the Word. He speaks to the poor indirectly. He speaks of equality for all people. He condemns those not allowing the homeless in our Kyrie Oichos, or The Name’s House. He speaks of the impending calamity of accumulating wealth at the expense of the least of these my brothers, “Matthew 25:31-46. He speaks of seeing everyone as family. The first reading and the Gospel say. “Would that all the people of the NAME were navy! Would that the NAME might bestow his spirit on them all!” He who is not against us is for us.” We are all equal. This is all there is to Christian morality. Are we ready for the job?