Holy Week Project – Good Friday – Meditation…Wait with Jesus at the Cross

Holy Week – Good Friday

Good Friday, April 10th, 2020
Posting by Renee Franzen


Sermon Meditation:
               Stay & Watch & Wait with Jesus at the Cross…, as
               God acknowledges the presence of evil, sin and death

                Pastor Renee Franzen

John 13:1

Jesus, having loved us in the world …now showed us the full extent of His love.

John Chapters 18 & 19


Meditation Video: 

             Click here to view Meditation Video by Pastor Renee Franzen.


You are Invited: 
              Come Join God & Participate in a Spiritual Discipline


1. Start with Prayer

           Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to watch with Jesus and open your heart
           to what God invites you into. Coming to the cross is an uncomfortable place,
           so remember that God has already victoriously conquered all sin, shame, guilt, 
           death, suffering and evil. Resurrection Day is coming, and you are chosen 
           and loved by God who knows you. 

2. Use your Spiritual imagination

Join Jesus and hear him speaking to you. Before the Betrayal of Jesus at Gethsemane, Jesus invited his close friends, including you, to Stay,… Pray,… Watch,… and Wait with him.

Scripture Narrative of God’s Story
36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, 
“Sit here while I go over there and pray.”
Jesus began to be sorrowful and troubled.
38 Then Jesus said to them,
“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and
keep watch with me.”
39 Going a little farther, Jesus fell with his face to the ground and prayed,
“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.
Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
(Matthew 26:36-39)

3. Read Scripture account of the true record of witness to Jesus crucifixion and place yourself at the foot of the cross, close to Jesus, your Savior. 

Witness to Jesus crucifixion is found in all 4 Gospel Books of the Bible.
         John Chapters 18-19
        Matthew 27
        Luke 23
        Mark 15


Holy Week Project – Maundy Thurs – “the full extent of His love”

Holy Week

Maundy Thursday, April 9th, 2020
Posting by Renee Franzen


Jesus, …the full extent of His love.


Scripture: John 13:1 (NIV)

…Having loved his own who were in the world,
he now showed them the full extent of his love.

Video: “Jesus showed them the full extent of His love.”

             Click here to see Video: “It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus…”


Art Sculpture:  Sacred Space – The Lord’s Supper

                                        Created by Famous Minnesota Artist – Bob Johnson
                                        One of God’s Family at Brookdale Covenant Church
Grace and Peace be yours in abundance!
Pastor Renee


Monday Update

Desperate times call for desperate measures to be sure.  I am happy to report that for the most part you are all trying to comply with new health and safety measures.   Annette, our Community Health Nurse, and I are making phone calls each day to our “most vulnerable population ”  to assure they  are safe, have what they need, and know that the church is here for them.  I’ve been blessed to pray with folks over the phone, and sense God’s very present help in that way.  You can always call us too!

But desperate times also call for creative measures, and Brookdale is blessed with a host of creative minds.  We need to unleash them.  Here’s some creative measures I want to share:

First of all we have had two online services now.  This has taxed our dedicated tech crew to be sure, but Byron, Leanne and John have persevered.  We know there are still kinks to be worked out, and they are intent on continuous improvement!  But know this, the time this has required of them has been significant.  So, you might want to send a word of encouragement their way.   Tim and Patti and their daughter Emma have provided such encouragement to us.  I know that many of you sing along as they lead us in worship.  Someone wrote me a note asking,  “ can you hear everyone singing?”.  In my heart, yes, I can.

Brenda and Leanne have been creating connection with the kids even when we need to keep our distance.  Before the stay-at-home order went into effect, they were able to deliver 30 Easter bags to our children and youth.    Please take time to pray for our kids. 

Ruth Kazar made a wonderful list on the prayer sheet last week:  we can learn from her example! Denise sends it out each Monday.  Use the prayer sheet actively this week.

Finally, here is my favorite creative solution.  Julie Fick pulled into the church parking lot at 10:30 on Sunday morning to watch the service.  I suspect she won’t be alone next Sunday.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see some cars sporting  palm branches!   I imagine cars will  pull up and face the sanctuary, roll down their  windows,  join in the call to worship, sing the songs, pray some prayers.  There is a special benediction awaiting us all next Sunday.  But you’re just going to have to wait for that.

Remember our final Lent practice this week.  Fast from Despair…..Feast on Hope.  What an assignment! I suspect we are all doing some of both.  When it gets hard, remember that you belong to the beloved community, and there is someone who would love to pray with you, talk with you, connect with you.  So please don’t be shy.  No shame, no blame in the struggle; this is tough.  But let someone know you need some time, some encouragement, some laughter or love.  I want to know how you are!

Pastor Renee


Thursday  Update

There’s a message flashing on our Church sign. First the bad news: it says, “All Gatherings Postponed”.  The next message that scrolls on says: “Let’s Stay Connected” and it’s followed by our church phone number.  Let’s stay connected. I very much like that invitation. 

For at least the foreseeable future,  we won’t be having services together.  That is hard to fathom, isn’t it.  These last two weeks have brought changes that we didn’t see coming.  Our lives are disrupted in so many different ways.  So the sign outside carries a very important message. 

Let’s Stay Connected.  We are working very hard to get our “on-line presence” up and running, and we will let you know as soon as we can how that will work. The staff are all thinking creatively about staying connected with our children,  our youth, the families we care about so deeply, and of course our most vulnerable and precious seniors. 

 I would love to hear your suggestions about staying connected.   But I also want to know how you are.  I want to know how you are praying, or what you are learning, and yes, what is making your heart heavy.  Call the church office, send emails, text me. 

Can I ask you to also put this week’s  lent practice to work?  Remind yourself, that you are precious to God, you are one of the beloved. Listen to last Sunday’s message.   Read the Word.  Then you will be reminded of God’s amazing care for you.  God has called you by name, and you are his.  Feast on that, when times are hard, disappointing or downright dangerous.  God’s love for you will not fail.

So let’s stay connected.  The Lord is with us.

One more note: how are you feeding your soul? 
Here is a song that is speaking deep encouragement to me.  God is Sovereign over us, and we will actively put our trust in him. 

Click to Listen and Actively TRUST GOD DEEPER – Sovereign Over Us

Lets Stay Connected!

Pastor Renee



A Monday Morning check-in

Hello Brothers and Sisters!

Right now I’m sitting in my office at church.  Denise is down the hall in her office, doing all the things she normally does on Mondays.  But as I sit here, and as you read this wherever you are, we all know very little feels normal.

Yesterday we had what will likely be our last service together for several weeks.   Many, if not most churches were cancelled, and I was glad to see that many of our folks opted to stay home. But I was happy to be with you as well.   We have cancelled our Sunday and Wednesday night programs until further notice.  Our tech team is working to get online or streaming connections made.  The staff and leadership will be meeting to make specific plans for how we stay connected when we cannot meet.  We will be using every form of communication we can think of to stay in touch and to keep you updated.

But remember: This week our lent practice is  to feast on the knowledge that we are the beloved.  You can listen to the sermon on line for an explanation of that.  Truth is, it feels like everything has changed!  But this is what the Lord reminded me of this morning: it’s found on page 751 of your pew Bible.
Lamentations 3:22-23 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,[a]
    his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

You know what I am going to be singing to myself now, don’t you.  That’s right: from the Blue hymnal, #78, Great Is Thy Faithfulness.  Hum it, sing it, listen to it on YouTube.  It was written by Christians going through extremely hard and uncertain times.  Like us.

I want to hear from you!  How are you feeling, how are you doing, what are you thinking about?  Call, email, or text.  Remember: The Lord is with you!

Talk to you soon,

Pastor Renee



New Decade, Old Things

As the Brookdale church family we now have the privilege of entering our 120th year of ministry.  On November 28, 1899, in a private home on 41st and Dupont Avenue North, a group of 20 or so Swedish immigrants covenanted together to form what would become Camden Covenant church. And then when they outgrew that building, they relocated in 1956 to our current location in Brooklyn Center. 


So altogether we have 120 years of history in North Minneapolis and in Brooklyn Center.  Our church home since 1956, at the intersection of Highway 100 and Brooklyn Boulevard, is about a mile and a half from the home where 20 immigrants first met, sang, read scripture, and prayed together.  This apple didn’t fall far from that tree.


I’ve been thinking about this long history a lot lately.  I have been thinking of that small group of people, probably all non-English speakers, and wondering what they would make of us–indeed of the world today!  Our two worlds, though only separated by one mile, seem light years apart.  There is no way they could have predicted much of life as we know it in 2020.  Could they advise us?  Would they have wisdom to share? Would they just shake their heads in total confusion?

I often find myself looking at the wonderful pictures that Diana Lundquist hung on the hallway across from the Prayer Chapel.  Every time I come out of that chapel there is a trio of black and white photos from 1927, 1939, and 1949.  Some of us long-timers can still name some of those faces in the 1949 photo.

If you enter church through the handicap entrance, you see the brass plaque on the wall dedicated to those charter members who sat in a house on 41st and Dupont and felt the call to begin a church.  At the bottom of the plaque is this verse: “I have a goodly heritage”. It comes from Psalm 16:6.

Psalm 16:6 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    I have a goodly heritage.

I think it’s interesting that this verse uses geographic language.  I read it in several different translations, and they use words like: lot lines, boundary lines, and houses and neighborhoods.  Location, location, location.  I think we are exactly where God wants us to be.

It’s a serious thing to be entrusted with a building, a lot, or a history.  But we do have a good heritage!  Our founders may be flabbergasted by the world we inhabit, but I know we could find some common ground!  We could sing that new hymn they were learning, our #78,  “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”.   (It wasn’t written until 1923 after all).   We might not be able to sing it all in the same language; they would be singing in Swedish, and we might have a mishmash of English, Lao and Spanish, but we could all agree on the truth of it.  Only because of God’s faithfulness are we still here.

Great is thy Faithfulness, O God my Father!

There is no shadow of turning with thee

Thou changest not, thy compassions they fail not

As thou hast been, thou forever wilt be


So as January unwinds we will begin with prayer.  We will renew our commitments. We will ground ourselves once again in the Word and the work.  And with God’s help, we will be faithful.  Not perfect.  But faithful.