Gordon Cosby

In the middle of this Holy Week, I want to pause with a grateful prayer for Gordon Cosby, who died last week at the age of 95. He is survived by his wife, Mary. The two of them envisioned, during the 1940’s, a community on mission which became the Church of the Saviour in Washington, D.C. It would be impossible to fathom or exaggerate the influence of the Cosby’s lives and ministry, and their vision which never became a valley of dry bones. Many of you know the story of the Church of the Saviour, and how the communities of worship and mission which continue to bear witness to its vision offer an ongoing challenge to the church at large–every church, including ours.

Two years ago, when Gordon was a mere 93, I attended a noontime prayer with him and a few others in the small chapel at the Festival Center. I was with a friend who has been very close to the Cosby’s for many years. After lunch at the Potter’s House, my friend said: “Gordon, what would you like for me to pray for you?”

Without hesitation, as if he knew the question was coming, this great Christian visionary said with deep humility and an expression on his face of utter sincerity: “Pray that I will be given a new vision for the church.”

Imagine that! He never stopped envisioning, never stepped outside the flow of the Spirit who is always making things new. Gordon Cosby meant so much to so many, and I will never forget the impact his prayer request had on me. I am taking it to heart during this Holy Week, and I offer it to all of you. On the edge of Easter, Gordon Cosby continues to inspire us…to keep praying for a new and fresh vision, for what it is that’s coming up next in our life with God and our mission to the world, as we serve the crucified and risen Jesus.


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