Tuesday, January 26, 2010

First Corinthians

After our first port of call (Katalono, Greece) I was looking forward to the second, Pireas, on the other side of the peninsula which, it turns out, is the port serving the capital city of Athens, which is slightly inland — just a few kilometres.

Arriving here we'd planned to take our first organized excursion on land in order to explore and get a feel of where we were. Of the several excursions offered for the day, we had decided to visit the old city of Corinth and its Canal, about which we knew very little.

The blurb in the brochure of excursions said,

"After a one and a half hour drive, you will arrive at the famous Corinth Canal. The idea of building the canal goes back to the time of Rome, when Emperor Nero started the first excavations with silver shovels and Hebrew slaves. Only by the end of the nineteenth century was technology sufficient to cut the Isthmus. From the bridge over the canal (built 900 meters above the water) you will be able to admire the vastness of this construction more than 6 kilometres long. If you are lucky enough to see a ship passing through the straits, get ready to take an unforgettable picture. Then you will continue around ancient Corinth, a city described by Saint Paul as "rich and sinful." Protected by a powerful fortress, the city had a forum larger than Rome, with temples, theatres, baths, fountains, stores, and basilicas. The most impressive structure remaining today is the Doric Temple of Apollo."
Well, we weren't "lucky enough to see a ship passing through the straits" but I did take a nice shot from the bridge (see below). The trouble is, by not having a point of reference as to size, I have completely failed to get the feel of being almost a kilometre high above the water. But, this is what I saw: you judge...

True to the brochure, our next stop was the old city of Corinth where we walked around the grounds and visited the museum. As our coach was turning around I noticed a church overlooking the ruins. It was surely a Greek Orthodox church and in its courtyard was erected a sort of moment with an inscription of 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 in English on one side and Greek on the other. I thought again about how I might feel to know that the most beautiful texts on love were written to folks in my church town.
We had bought a few postcards at the Canal stop so I wrote up a couple on the bus and mailed them off to home. You know me, I couldn't resist a little humour on the greeting side that went home:

"Despite all that Paul had to say on the subject we have seen that some women still don't cover their heads. However, though everyone here speaks in tongues, it all seems to be done decently and in order."
I did meditate on the fact that, were it not for the Corinthian church, we would have a great deal less wonderful teaching by Paul. Think of it: the Lord's supper, the gift of tongues in the church, the resurrection, and head-coverings. Not to mention that wonderful chapter on Christian love!

Have a happy day and go out of your way to be kind to someone today!

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