Connecting people to new life in Jesus Christ through belonging, support and hope
At Byron United Methodist Church, we grow as disciples of Christ together in community. We worship together, we study the scriptures together, eat and fellowship together, all while supporting and challenging each other to go deeper in our faith. We journey together reaching out to the sick and the hungry in Byron, Discovery Bay, Brentwood and beyond, offering support and the hope of Christ in tangible ways. We welcome you to journey with us and make this your faith home too.
To belong is to know yourself to be a member of a body of people who claim you as their own. And vice versa. Belonging is assurance that there is a place in the world that welcomes you, a place made more complete because of you. It is an expansion of your capacity for being by the sharing of lives and keeping of trusts.
At Byron United Methodist Church, we extend the definition of belonging still further: we long to know ourselves and one another, not simply as valued members of a community, but as vital participants in God’s ongoing creation.
To belong is to know yourself beloved, that you are chosen, a child of God (see Matthew 3:17) and that the promise of your life is on its way to being fulfilled. It is to know that your presence, your talents, your every God-given gift is leaving the world better than you found it and its people better able to do the same.
At Byron United Methodist Church we also know that while belonging is a gift of God’s grace, it is not something you passively receive. It requires your consent and the risk of intimacy and vulnerability; for to belong is to need others every bit as much as it is to be needed by them. Belonging is needing to be needed by those you belong to.
Even the most idyllic life is full of disappointment and loss. Contrary to what some people think, faithfulness doesn’t free you from suffering; it may in fact increase it. The Bible does not say that if we believe in God and try to be a good person that God will take care of us and bless us and nothing bad will happen to us. Instead the Bible describes the dogged faith of those who continue to trust in God despite their suffering and the strength and hope they find in the midst of their suffering.
Sickness is not God’s way. Our bodies are remarkably resilient and have the amazing capacity to repair themselves, but they are not indestructible. Disease and sickness, injury and death, are part of having flesh and blood bodies. It is part of life in this world. So instead of blaming God for illness, we look at our bodies and claim that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)
And then we find support and we offer support to each other, walking through the good and the bad times together. We weep and laugh together knowing that God also weeps when we suffer and rejoices in our happiness. As we support each other, we are the face of Christ to one another.
Hope is not the same as optimism, although we tend to use them interchangeably. Optimism is tied to specified outcomes, as when you are optimistic your team will prevail. Optimism can be unrealistic. It can be disappointed and can easily slip into its opposite, pessimism, which can be just as unrealistic or more.
Hope is not like this. Hope is a product of trust in the inherent goodness of God’s creation. It is the conviction that although we cannot imagine what the future holds, because we trust that it is held by God, there will be great good in it. Hope is our response of relief and assurance to promises made by One whose promises cannot be broken.
When God wants to bring hope and help and love to others, God sends people. God sends you and me. God uses us to walk lovingly with others. And then as we collaborate together, God has a way to bring good from all circumstances however tragic they be.