CHURCH TALK: A message of hope

Friday 23 April 2021 | Written by Supplied | Published in Church Talk, Features


CHURCH TALK: A message of hope
The late John Glassie Mateara served as the public relations officer for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the 1st Counsellor in the District Presidency. He was a regular contribution to the Church Talk column. SUPPLIED/21042240

This article is dedicated to two great men that have passed this week from the Vaka Puaikura. Beresford Henry “Black” Heather and John Glassie Mateara, who was a regular contributor to this column. These were great life influencers to many people and had many followers.

We all have heard of social media influencers that have vast numbers of followers. These people are influencers that guide and lead many people in how they choose to act. 

A life influencer I would say are those people that influence a vast number of followers to guide and lead them in a loving and caring way, following the Lord’s plan of serving others.

The late John Glassie Mateara served as the public relations officer for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the 1st Counsellor in the District Presidency. He prepared this talk as his last message to the family of the late Beresford Henry “Black” Heather on Tuesday. Mateara passed away later on Tuesday, two days after Heather’s untimely death.

“My first impressions of “Black” is up on the land (plantation) getting some bananas and feeding his pigs. When Papa Smiley came and told me the sad news yesterday (Monday) morning – my natural reaction was shock and feelings of disbelief and hard to accept because subconsciously, or in the back of our mind as humans we think that our parents, spouses or loved ones our friends are always going to be around.

Particularly in the days after the death. intense sadness, which can feel overwhelming. That’s why we are blessed to have family and friends around to help lift you and hold you up.

Grief is a reaction to the loss, but it’s also the name we give to the process of coping with the sadness and emptiness that can be overwhelming and hard to bear.

Grief is a healthy process of feeling comfort as you are being comforted, as love comes to you in abundance from those who mourn with you. You are surrounded by a lot of love.

“...Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” (Psalm 23)

The symbol of the rod and the staff represents the concern and compassion that a shepherd has for his sheep.

Coming to terms with your loss and not having Henry around will be difficult. But we are all here to help you get through.

Mourning is one of the deepest expressions of pure love. We know that Jesus friends “mourned and wept”. His disciples were wondering how they would go on without their Lord.

But through adversity and the darkness that we sometimes experience in life’s journey there is always a light that is available.

Our Saviour Jesus Christ is that light.

Jesus said I am the light and life of the world. But behold … I say unto you that mine eyes are upon you. I am in your midst and ye cannot see me.

Central to all Christian belief is the fact that Jesus Christ has risen from the dead, and because of this, we too will live again after we die.

This knowledge gives meaning and purpose to our lives.

​​​Because there is a ​​​resurrection​, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of ​​​death​ is swallowed up in Christ Jesus.

​​​He is the ​​​light​ and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, ​​that can never be darkened; that because of the resurrection of Jesus, we will be resurrected, that there can be no more death thereafter.

New Testament John 11:25 – Jesus said unto Martha, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”

In closing I would like to add, the scriptures tell us that when we die our bodies go back to the dust from whence, we were created ... but our spirits return to the realm of that God who created us.

I know that this is true through my own personal experience. Three years ago, in Auckland City Hospital … Rest in Peace – Henry is not resting, he’s probably

with his parents, what a glorious re-union that would be, he would probably be trying to start up a Arorangi Bears and Cowboys Club up there recruiting the old players that have gone before him.

Just like I know Jesus lives, I know that Henry lives and he is happy free from the cares and the woes of this earthly life.

We come together today to give thanks to Henry for being a part of our lives and draw nearer to each other during these difficult times, let us also draw nearer to our God and he will draw nearer to you and bless you and help to heal your aching heart.”

Let us all be great life influencers like these two great men have shown. The answer is service and love unto others.

This is a message of hope and dedicated to all their followers:  Thomas S Monson once said “Frequently death comes as an intruder. It is an enemy that suddenly appears in the midst of life’s feast, putting out its lights ... Death lays its heavy hand upon those dear to us and at times leaves us baffled and wondering. In certain situations, as in great suffering and illness, death comes as an angel of mercy. But for the most part, we think of it as the enemy of human happiness. The darkness of death can ever be dispelled by the light of revealed truth. ‘I am the resurrection, and the life’ spoke our saviour Jesus Christ, ‘He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die’. This reassurance – yes, even holy confirmation of life beyond the grave could well provide the peace promised by the Saviour when He assured His disciples: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

  • Piltz T Napa (District President The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints)