As we approach November 11, I find myself frequently remembering Shirley & John Murray. I took this photo in their New Zealand living room when Christina and I visited them in Spring 2014. There are many rich memories of the close relationship Shirley and I shared, but what touches me in a special way at this time of year is my recollection of the white poppies they proudly wore for Australia and New Zealand’s Anzac Day which is celebrated annually on April 25.
An ordained minister and Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in New Zealand, John was a peace activist whose passions frequently served as inspiration for Shirley’s hymn texts. Our song, "It Is Time", with its specific references to white poppies, is one such text which is really its own kind of collaborative effort between Shirley and John.
Scroll down past the melody line sample and lyric as poetry for some information about John and white poppies, followed by a Reflection on Shirley’s words by kindred spirit Walter Farquharson.