Editorial: In Memorium–Gordon Cosby

Yesterday (Wednesday), one of God’s modern-day saints went to heaven.  Gordon Cosby (1918-2013) along with his wife, Mary founded The Church of the Savior in Washington D.C. in the 1940’s.

For many in my generation, the Cosbys were inspirations and guides on many levels, especially in showing that the personal and social gospels were (are) one Gospel.

My friend, Jonathan Wilson Hartgrove, visited Gordon about a year ago.  As Gordon recounted the beginning of the church and its subsequent development, he said the following

God is not going to tell someone else what he wants you to do next. Make sure you’re listening for yourselves.”

Jonathan’s blog about his visit with Gordon brought back a flood of memories, but it was this comment from Gordon that gripped my soul.  We have devoted a lot of Thursdays to the exploration of discernment.  I could never have predicted Gordon Cosby’s comment would be like a bow to tie around the package.

Gordon’s word should be given to every seminarian as they graduate and sent to every congregation seeking to know its mission.  We have become almost knee-jerk in thinking we must look to another church or to some external “program” to know what God’s will is.

And Gordon testified to his and Mary’s temptation to do it too. But “thanks be to God” they found the better way–the way of looking around, right at home, to see what God would have them do.  Listening in deep prayer and outward attentiveness, they found and followed God’s will.

May this tribe increase!  While surely learning from others, may we never look to them to know what God would have us do. God speaks to us “here and now” in the specific place we have been given to serve. The will of God (the Kingdom of God) is at hand–within reach.

Thank you, Gordon, for this witness and reminder.  May you enter into the joy of your Lord, and rest in peace.

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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1 Response to Editorial: In Memorium–Gordon Cosby

  1. Steve, Thank you for this about Gordon Cosby. I still get their dailies. And the quote made my day. I absolutely agree. Until one can hear God clearly, life does not take on meaningful experiences.

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