In Italy, I rediscovered the ability of three forms of prayers
The plaintive psalms seemed exaggerated before COVID-19. But with 10,000 deaths, my church in Rome, which was closed by total blockade, experiences the same complaints from David as always.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way Italian Christians pray and live their faith in a nation shocked by more than 10,000 deaths – the highest number in the world – and more than 92,400 confirmed (second) cases is only after the United States).
During this period of isolation, it is no longer possible to meet on Sundays or in weekly groups. Excursions, trips and weddings are exposed like most activities. If you are not at home for no good reason, you risk a heavy fine.
But this period of exile has helped us discover three aspects of prayer that we often overlook in times of plenty.
Until a month ago, the plaintive psalms were often exaggerated. For example, Asaph's protest that God "gave his people many tears to drink" might seem overly dramatic; David's cry to God "How long will you hide your face?" it seemed a distant feeling.
But as mankind is struggling to stem a pandemic that creates fear and unrest, the complaint seems to have new relevance to each of us. In March 2020, Psalm 44 seems to be swinging perfectly:
Awake! Why are you sleeping, sir?
Wake up, don't reject us forever!
Why are you hiding your face
and you ignore our suffering and oppression?
Because our soul is down in the dust;
Our body is on the floor.
Face our help
save us in your goodness.
Few western Christians have experienced poverty, injustice …
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