Well, Rome has always been associated with a lot of mischief but I think the gospel is changing the hearts of some. Daniel Ventura writes about the effects of the Reformation and gospel in Italy today:
The first thing I noticed when driving from the airport is that Italian drivers are crazy. No one is paying much attention to stop signs, speed limits, or any other traffic signs for that matter. Everyone seems to be in a hurry to get to and from wherever it is they are going, and there is not much acknowledgment of one another on the road unless you have an Italian flag hanging outside your window following the victory of an Italian soccer match (then you receive a flood of honks every corner you turn!).
It seems Italian driving indicates something about the Italian cultural mindset in general. Both in the car, walking down the street, in café’s and supermarkets, everyone is focused simply on what is going on right in front of them. There are not many friendly hellos’, warm smiles, conversations on the corner, or any real human acknowledgement of one another for that matter. And in such a difficult economic time for Italy, it makes a lot of sense that there is this sense of depression and gloom wherever you go. In many ways, people are forced into this kind of lifestyle because the pressures are so great to meet financial obligations; so only an individualized fast paced life keeps one enduring each day.
However, I noticed something very different as I worshiped with God’s people on the Lords Day. Immediately, I was greeted with smiles, hugs, and even those European style kisses on the cheek (which I failed to perform rightly the first couple times). There was much laughter amongst the people during conversations, and a deep sense of joy in fellowshipping with one another. No doubt, many of my brothers and my sisters are feeling the effects and pressures of this present economic struggle, and are not doing so well by the world’s standards. But the reality of God being for them in Jesus Christ seemed to grip their hearts in such a way that there was peace, and even thanksgiving, as they receive what God’s hand of providence had dealt them durring the week.
In the midst of obvious gloom and darkness throughout northern Italy, Christ’s church has the opportunity to shine as a beacon of hope for down-trodden sinners. This is not because everyone is prospering materially and is free from the struggles of this present evil age in the church. Rather, it is because there is a living comfort in the gospel. In all of these things we belong body and soul, in life and in death, to our faithful savior Jesus Christ. And whatever adversity he sends us in this sad life, he will turn for our good. Since he is Almighty God and Faithful Father.
Pray for the church’s comfort, that this spirit of hope would increase in the lives of Gods people as the gospel is proclaimed each week. Pray for the church’s witness, that the fruits of the gospel would be evident in the lives of God’s people, and that many, as a result, would ask for the hope that is in them. And pray for the churches expansion, that God in his grace would raise up more workers to labor in these gloomy fields.