Friday Contemplation: You're going to die. Every Friday night in 7th and 8th grade, I'd put on my "Just Passing Through" t-shirt. I loved the shirt, no idea why. And I didn't reflect on the meaning. About a decade ago, a childhood friend sent me the above pictured shirt as a joke after finding the logo online.

Now in my late 40's, I realize how true the saying is on my favorite shirt back in middle school. We are all going to die--sooner rather than later. We all are just passing through.

The important question is: Are you passing through with purpose?

Ash Wednesday reminds us of this bitter truth. While some see this as rather depressing, that knowledge can help us live more fully and intentionally.

Ash Wednesday uses ashes that were made with the previous year's palms from Palm Sunday, and are applied onto our foreheads to help us remember that we came from dust and to dust we will return. It marks the beginning of Lent, which is the 40 days not including Sundays before Easter when Christians prepare by fasting, repentance, and growing their relationships with God.

Remembering You Will Die | Wednesday, Mar. 3

  • Ashes Before Work: 7 - 9 a.m. in The Portico Cafe Breezeway near Homeless Jesus. I'll administer ashes and say those words that have been said for centuries: "To ash..."
  • Ash Wednesday Meditation: 12 noon in The Henderson Chapel. Join this intimate gathering of repentance, meditation, and remembering.

Passing Through with Purpose: During this Lent, consider adding something in and taking something away. And don't tell anyone about it! Below are some ways for you to give something up and add something sacrificially.


  • Something you enjoy. As known as "fasting." Do this intentionally for 40 days. Offer it to God/Higher Power. And... Don't tell anyone. Here's why.
  • Social media from your phone. This will give you more time for bullets 1 and 2 from above.
  • Lack of forgiveness. Decide to take action to have God remove any unwillingness to forgive in your heart.

Last Sunday, I gave a 14 min message about practicing resilient reorientation. I hope you'll check it out.

Remember, you are going to die.

But along the way, let's pass through with purpose.

You are Loved.

The Rev. Justin LaRosa, LCSW
Director & Minister, The Portico
O: 813.222.2299 | M: 813.444.2941
1001 N. Florida Ave.,
Tampa, FL 33602
Conversation. Connection. Community Change.
Websites for The Portico and The Portico Cafe.

P.S. Join a new group below! Invite someone to the Sunday Matinee (Chosen), or ORDER some coffee to support The Cafe. We are 36 coffee bags away from February's goal!
The Portico includes a neighborhood cafe, a historic chapel, spaces to meet and work, and an event space for the public that enhances the social, artistic, and spiritual fabric of Tampa through Conversation, Connection and Community Change!

The Portico Community is a non-conventional church whose mission is to make God’s Love Real through spiritual practices and to serve the city and world in ways that address equality, housing insecurity, and economic challenge. We are a community of Hyde Park United Methodist.

The Portico Cafe is a social enterprise that offers people transitioning from homelessness, addiction, and incarceration--job training, employment ladders, and connections to safe, affordable housing. Support here.
Sunday Gathering
Grow more deeply in love. Consider these gatherings:

  • Sunday Gathering, 3/13 at 10:30: Come every 2nd Sunday to build relationships, have conversations about life and scripture, practice silence, and serve together!

  • Community Meal, 3/13 at Noon: Participate Sunday where we get our "knees under tables" with friends and neighbors who are unsheltered or hungry and occurs immediately after the Sunday Gathering.

Join a Small Group

Our community thrives as we gather, grow and serve. The Portico's primary vehicle for that is small groups. We have a bunch. If you can't find one, Justin or Mark B will help you create or join one. These new groups have spots available. Join a Group

  • Women's Joe 4, 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays (hybrid). 1x month in person. 3 spots. Email Sarah.
  • Men's Joe groups, about 5 spots at different times.
Events, Gathering, Serve
  • Sunday Matinee at The Portico, Feb 6 - April 24, 3 - 4:30 p.m. Showing The Chosen Series! Community and Multigenerational Family Event with popcorn, coffee and soft drinks.

  • Habitat Build: build Mindi's house! The second Friday of every month for the next 6 months, we'll come together to build and create a great future. Sign up here.
Coffee On A Mission
As of today: 64 Bags Sold 

The Mission100 Bags in 30 Days 
The Coffee: Locally-roasted Portico Blends (medium and dark) and Don Carlos Espresso
The Cause: Stand against homelessness with every gift or purchase.
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The Portico | 1001 N. Florida Avenue | 813.222.2299 |