My most recent column for The Canadian Lutheran reflects on the Church’s identity as the Bride of Christ. Reflecting on the language of the Song of Songs, I invite my readers to reflect more deeply on what it means to be a bride—the feminine counterpart to our bridegroom Christ.

As we live out this Christian calling, I urge readers to reflect on the faithful witness of Christian women throughout the ages. We look of course to Mary, the witnesses at the resurrection, and other women in the Bible. But we look beyond the Scriptures too, seeing how women have been instrumental in the spread of the Christian faith:

From the Church’s beginnings to its present, women have played vital roles in Christian witness. In fact, some scholars believe that the early Church had a much higher percentage of women in it than men; it is certainly true that the 2nd century pagan critic of Christianity, Celsus, ridiculed the faith as a religion of “women and children.” But what he considered a defect, the Church could embrace: God was bringing women into the Church, and they were raising their children in the faith. The Church was growing because of these devout women, even if their unbelieving husbands did not always approve.

I look at one such women in particular: St. Monica, the mother of St. Augustine. Her story—one of long-suffering witness to her unbelieving family—is a powerful testimony to the mercy of God, even when we can’t see Him working as quickly as we would like.

Such women are justly remembered today. We in the Church do well to emulate them as we live out our calling as the Bride of Christ—that we would be faithful to Christ, our true Husband, but that we also be patient and loving witnesses in our relationships with non-Christian friends and family around us. May God continue to raise up strong women like Monica in our time, that the Church would be ever strengthened through their faithful testimony and service.

Read the whole thing over at The Canadian Lutheran “The Bride of Christ.”