I first met Dr. Hughes Oliphant Old when he knocked on the door of my room at the Erskine College guesthouse to invite me breakfast. It was no luxurious affair to be sure. We broke our fast at the makeshift cafe inside Kennedy’s Exxon in the sleepy town of Due West, South Carolina. I had signed up to take my first course in his fledgling, “Institute for Reformed Worship,” entitled “The Psalms as Christian Prayer.”
He seemed rather unremarkable standing in my doorway with his long Calvinesque beard and his frumpy broad brimmed hat. But little did I know at that first meeting the impact that this giant of a man, scholar, pastor and teacher would have on my life and ministry.
When he would speak of the Psalms his eyes would twinkle and his whole demeanor would become animated. He loved to refer to the Psalms as the “Songs of the Holy Spirit” and he encouraged poets and musicians to engage in the task of creating new settings for them to be used in private, family and public worship.
So it brings me great delight that my oldest, Isabella is doing just that. Lord’s Day afternoons often find her hidden away in some quiet place, meditating upon some passage of scripture and setting it in a metrical setting to some old or contemporary hymn tune which captures the ethos of the passage. She has been posting these on her blog and is working toward the production of a book of these Scripture songs — Songs, indeed, of the Holy Spirit. Check out her work at her blog under Paradox and Poetry.