It was the 4th of March, and I was working at school. Some teachers started to talk about a possible closing of the schools, some said that it wouldn’t be possible, that last time the school closed was during the second world war. We left school at 2pm, later that afternoon our prime minister said that they were closing the school for two weeks. Me and my colleagues started to fear for our jobs, our wages and all the problems of a lock down. The day after everybody was out, the seaside was full of families and the parks too, it looked like a holiday instead of a Pandemic.
On the 9th our Prime Minister set the lock down. From that moment, the people started to worry. In a culture where hugging, kissing, meeting with people (especially with family) and eating together is vital, it started to be really scary. The weather was great, the sun was up, but suddenly there was nobody around, no cars, no people, just a long queue at the supermarkets and pharmacies. Now you had to wear masks and gloves, you could only look at those that were close to you. It couldn’t be real; we couldn’t believe what was happening.
The police were going around stopping people, the speakers around were telling people to stay safe at home and go out only in case of a real need otherwise they would be fined. It was like a war but without anybody to fight. The Pandemic was there, but it wasn’t, everything was very confused.
Every day on the television we were told of many people dying, lots of new infections, no hope – the two weeks became two months.
The churches started to find different ways to share, meeting online and keeping people connected. People became disappointed, they fasted and prayed at all times of the day and night, they met online, but nothing practical. We were unable to do anything except get stronger in our personal relationship with God.
Was that the purpose of these things? Would God heal everybody and see many people come to Christ? What was the purpose of all this? These were the questions that came to my mind.
One day I received a phone call from my Pastor, we could start to go out and share food to those in need and the Chinese church sent thousands of masks to give to the hospital and to the people. A light started to shine, something new started, we started to see a way, a hope in this time, suddenly we started to see our adopted Father speaking to us: “GO TO THE PEOPLE”.
In this time, we were worried, we felt alone in the house, locked in our rooms and maybe forgetting that God, thousands of years ago, chose to adopt us through Jesus Christ. Also, that there are many more that He wants to adopt, to take away from this situation and bring new hope and new life to.
There could be many more things to share during this time but scared of what we cannot see shows us that our Father, that we don’t see, is more alive than ever before. Is the Italian church affected? Yes, a lot, but we still need to understand in what way. Hopefully we will not be back to normal but to a new dimension, to live the church, and live the faith in action during times of extreme difficulty.