One Voice: Weekly Worship With Soma
Written by Jenny Wiland
“Praise God, from whom all blessings flow…”
Dozens of voices rise in harmony, flooding the chapel with angelic music. No voice sounds the same as another. Each belongs to a different student with a different life, a different background, a different paper to write, and a different midterm to study for later. But at 7:30 on a Thursday evening, all these people gather for the same purpose: to worship God.
This is Soma, a weekly time of worship organized by Hillsdale’s InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. The name “Soma” comes from the Greek word for “body,” to represent the body of Christ that gathers together for these Thursday nights. Every week, a small group of student musicians lead their peers in worship. They sing contemporary worship songs and hymns, then close the night with prayer. They also offer personal prayer ministry for anyone who asks, and they bring in speakers twice a semester. Soma has been held in a variety of locations—the chapel, the quad, and even over videoconferencing software during the COVID shutdown. No matter where it takes place, Soma remains a space for Christians of all denominations to step away from their studies and focus on their faith.
Soren Moody, ’22, has attended regularly since he enrolled as a freshman. Now a junior, he oversees these worship nights and plays guitar for the worship team. For him, Soma serves as a key reminder of his priorities. “It’s easy to get distracted in all of our work here and think that our work is what gives us meaning. And ultimately, we honor God with our work, but our value is in Him.”
Soren first came to Soma while visiting campus as a prospective student. The gathering captivated him and became one of the main reasons he chose to attend Hillsdale. “I saw this community of believers from all different faith traditions worshiping God together. Their common ground was Jesus Christ, and I loved that.”
For Soren, the ability to come to God together in worship is a gift. “Because of what Christ has done for us, we’re sons and daughters of the King, and we can come and worship Him.” And this gift is open to all, regardless of background.
All kinds of students come—all years, majors, and faith traditions gather as one body of Christ. “You have Anglicans, you have Baptists, you have Catholics, you have Orthodox—you have all these types of Christians, all singing the same words, the same praise to God.”
The unity of these Christians shines brightest at the end of the night. Every week, the students close with the same simple verse of praise: the Doxology. A guitar chord sets the key, then fades out as the gathered voices build and blend in layers of melody and harmony. The music rings and echoes off the walls of the chapel, or through the open air of the quad.
“Praise Him, all creatures here below…”
Jenny Wiland, ’23, plans to study psychology and graphic design. She loves her cat, dark chocolate, and writing stories, especially science fiction and fantasy.
Published in January 2021