Many of you know and love Karl. He was a regular presence online during the pandemic when we practiced centering prayer/meditation daily for 20 minutes. He exuded a calm and peaceful presence during a chaotic time. He literally harmonized the room (and zoom).

Karl was my sermon writing companion and shadow. For 9 years, he followed me wherever I went. When I woke each day, I heard the familiar “thump, thump, thump” at the foot of the bed.

An extraordinary attribute of Karl was: he loved each family member just the way that they most needed. He followed me around (seemed to adore me and responded to every prompt). He gave Russell kisses on his face (no one else). He protected Caroline. He refused to go upstairs when I was out of town and would sleep on the steps by the front door. He would sit with Bella when she needed comfort. Karl loved well; and was loved by everyone who came into contact with him. The neighborhood loved him. He sat regally in the front yard like a statue as people and their pets walked by. He was kind, gentle (even as a puppy) and profoundly kind to even the most fussy dogs.

Karl died on Easter Monday.

The reason I share this is two-fold: (1) Prayer (2) Love. Please pray for my wife and kids as they grieve. I would greatly appreciate. Rumi said, “The deeper the grief, the more radiant the love.” Karl was a master practitioner of love. His 9 year master class has deepened my understanding of God’s love revealed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Weirdly, pets can help us understand and experience God’s love.

Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth is a master thesis on God’s love;. Throughout April and May, Joe Groups and 1001 Gathering are doing a deep dive on it. Truth is, it helps us to see tangible examples of love. Paul’s letter tell us about it and invites us to believe in and experience in God’s love in Christ. Sunday at The 1001 Gathering we examine 1 Corinthians 13:4b: love is kind. Let us strive to not only think and understand the the kind of love that Paul is pointing to–but tangibly experience it and share it.

A neighbor and friend posted this Thornton Wilder quote on my timeline: Many who have spent a lifetime in it can tell us less of love than the child that lost a dog yesterday.

My kids can speak to this kind of love.

Three Things:

  1. Portico Community Art Show: 6 – 8 p.m., Friday, April 28. This art exhibit will honor the graduates of the BA in Art Therapy program at University of Tampa. Artwork was created by those in recovery, artists experiencing homelessness, and other marginalized communities at practicum sites across the Tampa Bay Region.
  2. Second Chance Documentary: 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 20 followed by a discussion. Tickets are $5 and all proceeds will benefit The Portico Cafe. Seating is limited. Get tickets.
  3. Serve: We are searching for people to serve at the following: The Portico Breakfast, A Music Curator for The 1001 Gathering, and volunteer musicians (drummers, bassists, and singers). Email.

You are Loved! Love like Karl.