I reached for my bag in the dark, small space beneath my feet. As I had the five prior days, I took out my journal and stepped off the bus, among the crowd. I was immediately swept by emotion.
This was Corinth. I expected emotion at different points on this tour of Greece. I did not expect this right off the bus. Costas, our guide asked us to gather in a spot that seemed to be the back alley of a building. This spot had a vantage point. Tears pooling in my eyes for what reason? They were hidden by my sunglasses.
Temple of Aphrodite
Costas pointed up to a distant mountain. On this mountain we could see a temple. We’ve learned by now, in ancient Greece the people built temples on a hill called an acropolis. This acropolis in Corinth is extremely high. As in all cities the temple is dedicated to a god or goddess. Aphrodite the goddess of sexual pleasure and beauty holds the spot in Corinth.
Please stay with me, the cultural history is so important.
City of Pleasure
When Paul arrived in Corinth this was a bustling port city. That temple behind us owned 1,000 girls and as many boys who were slaves of Aphrodite. They were prostitutes working to bring wealth to Aphrodite. The slaves walked down the mountain every day. Corinth was known all over Europe and the east as a city of sexual pleasure. Anyone who visited the city would know the prostitutes by their shaved heads.
All the way up to the twentieth century, women in Europe wore long, lovely coiffed hair for beauty and honor. If a woman was caught in adultery her head was shaved.
Paul stayed in Corinth for eighteen months. The temple slaves heard his message, and some came to believe. Their heads were shaved but they wanted a new life.
This cultural history explains:
1 Corinthians 11:5-6 But a woman dishonors her head if she prays or prophesies without a covering on her head, for this is the same as shaving her head. Yes, if she refuses to wear a head covering, she should cut off all her hair! But since it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut or her head shaved, she should wear a covering.
This is Love
Wait! Paul wasn’t anti-woman or the male chauvinist many have claimed. The opposite. Paul showed the love of God our Father.
The veil wasn’t to steal identity or cover for submissive reasons. The head covering protected the women with shaved heads. Uniformity covered all heads, covered shame. Protected the victims.
The women with beautiful hair are the ones who had to be convinced. Verse 10 says “For this reason, and because the angels are watching, a woman should wear a covering on her head to show she is under authority.” This is love.
Good Good Father
I am overwhelmed by the love of our Father. The Holy Spirit prepared me for the revelation. Jesus was crucified, buried, and resurrected for our sin and shame. To cover us. To free us. To love us intimately. The perfectly coiffed lives and well as the broken.
Feeling cover and protected,