Deaths of servicemen raise difficult questions
As the first coffins of British servicemen killed in Iraq begin to return home, churches across the country are having to face many difficult questions relating to life, death, peace and war.
At the weekend services across Britain reflected on the sombre reality of war as the bodies of ten servicemen who died in the first days of conflict were flown into RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire in a low-key military ceremony on Saturday.
The presence of several hundred thousand Christians in Iraq - some conscripts in the Iraqi army - also raises particular questions about how to deal with the idea of Christians killing Christians.
Christian theology teaches that Christians are first and foremost citizens of the Kingdom of God before they are citizens of any nation state.
During the first World War it has been highlighted that possibly the biggest missionary movement from Europe was destroyed, as Christians from Germany and Britain killed each other in the trenches of France.
Similarly the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki during the Second World War is said to have wiped out one of the biggest Christian communities in Asia.
Tom Hoglind of the Bible Society of Lebanon says that many Iraqi Christians have experienced ërevivalí since the Gulf War. The biggest Christian commuities in Iraq are found in Mosul and Baghdad - both which which are currently being bombed.
The Rev Nick McKinell, of St Andrew's Church in Plymouth, which has lost two servicemen, said: "In a community like Plymouth with a high percentage of service people we have learned to be realistic about the cost of war."