Tribute from Pastor Alan Cairns

The Scripture tells us that the memory of the just is blessed. Certainly the memory of Rachel Matzko will be a blessing to all of us who knew her and witnessed her courageous struggle with her aggressive cancer. Her fortitude in the face of her hospitalizations and treatments was remarkable. Through all those years Rachel demonstrated the power of a vital faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, pursuing with unswerving faithfulness the calling the Lord had given her in Christian education. In the process she taught not only her students but all of us lessons that cannot be learned from any textbook.

Now she has gone home to glory. The Lord who redeemed her with the precious blood of His own dear Son has taken her to be with Himself. She has not passed into oblivion; she has not descended into darkness. Her assurance in life was the same as the psalmist David’s: “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness” (Psalm 17:15).

I shall awake tells us of her resurrection, for her body will not remain forever in the grave but will be raised incorruptible at the coming of her Saviour.

I shall awake with thy likeness reminds us of her glorification, for Christ her Lord will “change her vile body that it might be made like unto his glorious body.”

I will behold thy face in righteousness sounds out the glorious gospel note of Rachel’s final acceptance as a justified believer in Christ, one whose sins God has fully pardoned and to whom He has imputed the perfect righteousness of Christ.

I shall be satisfied reminds us of the eternal bliss, the absolute and unalloyed happiness of Christ’s blood-bought people that Rachel has already begun to enjoy.

For sorrowing loved ones, Rachel’s death will bring sadness and tears. That is understandable. The Christ who wept at the tomb of His friend Lazarus knows all about such grief and will sustain you through it. But for Rachel there is no trace of sadness as she has entered into the presence of her Lord where, the Bible tells us, the saints enjoy fullness of joy and pleasures for evermore. So amid the shadows cast by Rachel’s death I trust that all her sorrowing family and friends will be encouraged and strengthened by the realization that that their loved one is with Christ, which is far better.

Brother John, Joan and I are sorry we are so far away at this time. We are remembering you and Austin and all your family in prayer. I am sure it was a blessing to Rachel to see a picture of her new grandson just before she lapsed into unconsciousness. I am also sure that her memory and testimony will be a constant witness to all her family of the reality and power of the gospel. Like Abel, “she being dead yet speaketh.” Hers is a message of hope, a word of gospel grace and an urgent cry to everyone who knew her to make sure that they are prepared to meet God as she was.

John and Austin and family, Joan and I send you our heartfelt sympathy and love. Though we are separated by a great ocean, our thoughts are with you today. May the God of all comfort draw near to you and sustain you. May he bless you with His presence and give you His abiding peace until the day dawns and the shadows flee away and we all meet as redeemed sinners around the throne of our great God and Saviour.

Your friend in Christ and for many years your pastor,

Alan Cairns (1940-2020)