GORDON COSBY was perhaps the most Christian human being I have known. But he would always be the first to raise serious questions about what it meant to be a “Christian” and lived a different life than many of his fellow pastors and church leaders who call themselves Christian. Gordon was happier just calling himself a follower of Jesus. He always told people who wanted to call him “reverend” to just say “Gordon.”
Loving Like Christ
On March 20, Gordon went home into the arms of Jesus. At 95 years of age, he died in hospice at Christ House, a medical living community for the homeless and one of the ministries that grew out of the Church of the Saviour in Washington, D.C., which he and his wife, Mary, co-founded in 1946.
Gordon Cosby and the Church of the Saviour were among the most important reasons that Sojourners decided to move to Washington in 1975, and we have been spiritually intertwined ever since. For Sojourners, Gordon was a mentor, elder, inspirer, supporter, encourager, challenger, and retreat leader. For me, he was a pastor and my most important spiritual adviser. Our countless times together provided me more wisdom, care, support, and discernment than I found with anybody else. Never have I felt more prayers for me from anyone, outside my family, than I did from Gordon.
Gordon taught us how to live by the gospel and, in these last years and months, he showed us how to die. In one of my many visits near the end of his life, Gordon said to me in his deep, gravelly voice, “I am enjoying dying.” What a gospel thing to say! From the first time I heard Gordon preach to the last sermon he gave a few years ago, I have never heard the gospel and its meaning more clearly articulated.
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