Bringing Prayer to Her People: Cole Arthur Riley’s Black Liturgies

We’re back with more of our Faith Shakers series–with another person of faith who’s inhabiting something different than what we normally expect or see in faith spaces. When it comes to better understanding the church and how faith exists outside its walls, we must take into consideration voices that haven’t been largely represented in many church traditions. Communities of color were often not considered in the long history of  liturgy in the church–and if you’re not familiar with what liturgy is, the technical definition is the “ritual or script for various forms of public worship in churches.” And those scripts and rituals more often than not didn’t take into account the Black experience. That’s where our guest today comes in. Cole Arthur Riley is an author and the creator behind the uber popular Black Liturgies, which has blown up on Instagram over the last couple of years. Cole daily shares the poems and prayers she has created that invite Black dignity, lament, rage, justice, and rest. She and Jen talk about how hard it can be to go against the grain in spaces of faith, and the power of trading acceptance for inner stability.  As Cole says, “when you have that inner stability of heart, it gives you courage to step away and say ‘I trust that I am going to find belonging elsewhere.’”