I am troubled by the news of the deaths of five British servicemen in Afghanistan - especially, if I'm honest , this close to remembrance day. I struggle with the idea of remembrance Sun day - with its mixed up messages of faith and nationalism giving people the mistaken impression that
- this is a Christian country and
- that only Christians fought in the war
I have bought a poppy - but this year I have chosen not to wear it when I am wearing a clerical collar, I just can't bring myself to reinforce the association of Christianity with nationalism, or war.. especially not when I am so conscious of the rise of fascism, racism and religious intolerance.
I also can't, as a minister, bring myself to only pray for 'our' fallen heroes. You have taught us that we should pray for our enemies, not those we love.
When we are prepared to remember the lives we have taken, as well as those we have lost, and remember the cost in terms of religious, economic and political freedoms won and lost - I will be a lot happier about 'remembrance' day. But I think I would still want to break the link between remembrance day and the Lord's day.
Only one, in all of history, gave his life and died that I might truly live - and I want people to remember that.