Black Liturgies: Prayers, Poems, and Meditations for Staying Human (Hardcover)
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A powerful adage to the Instagram phenomenon, Black Liturgies walks us through all parts of life, from love, to loss, to Lent, and gives us poetry, meditations, prayers, and reflections on how to navigate. Written in a similar style to the Book of Common Prayer but with Black voices, Cole Arthur Riley revives the human in all of us. This is a truly magnificent book for all seekers looking for meaning.— Jennifer
“A true spiritual balm for our troubled times.”—Michael Eric Dyson, author of What Truth Sounds Like
For years, Cole Arthur Riley was desperate for a spirituality she could trust. Amid ongoing national racial violence, the isolation of the pandemic, and a surge of anti-Black rhetoric in many Christian spaces, she began dreaming of a more human, more liberating expression of faith. She went on to create Black Liturgies, a digital project that connects spiritual practice with Black emotion, Black memory, and the Black body.
In this book, she brings together hundreds of new prayers, along with letters, poems, meditation questions, breath practices, scriptures, and the writings of Black literary ancestors to offer forty-three liturgies that can be practiced individually or as a community. Inviting readers to reflect on their shared experiences of wonder, rest, rage, and repair, and creating rituals for holidays like Lent and Juneteenth, Arthur Riley writes with a poet’s touch and a sensitivity that has made her one of the most important spiritual voices at work today.
For anyone healing from communities that were more violent than loving; for anyone who has escaped the trauma of white Christian nationalism, religious homophobia, or transphobia; for anyone asking what it means to be human in a world of both beauty and terror, Black Liturgies is a work of healing and empowerment, and a vision for what might be.
“[Arthur] Riley’s words remind us that liberation begins with coming home to oneself. . . . Readers will walk away from this book a little freer; even if the chains don’t break, maybe they’ll loosen enough for us to dance and clap.”—Sojourners
“Cole Arthur Riley is a spiritual guide and a gift in our lives. Restoring us to ourselves and reminding us of our humanness, our fragility, and the strength of faith, she calls us back to community, to breath, to our god-given selves. Black Liturgies is true spiritual balm for our troubled times.”—Michael Eric Dyson, New York Times bestselling author of What Truth Sounds Like
“Black Liturgies is a garden for the soul. With rare wisdom, beautiful clarity, and generous vulnerability, Cole Riley brings her whole self to these letters, verses, and promptings, offering bright, deep truths about who we are and can be as Black women, Black people, and human beings. Hold these luminous words close and let them be your balm.”—Tiya Miles, National Book Award winning author of All That She Carried
“This is a curation of musings that renders the Spirit accessibly real—not up in the ‘heavens’ or beyond our reach, but right here within. In our hands, we hold a sacred Blackness. Black Liturgies will quiet you and guide you into the limitless space of your self.”—Yaba Blay, PhD, cultural worker and author of One Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race
“Cole Arthur Riley continues to show that she is one of this time’s most powerful and potent writers on the body and spirit. What she shares is at once quiet and honest, intimate and profound. The prayers in this book seem to rise from our own cracks and breaks, from the deep well of Blackness itself. They remind us to pray only to the God that could know us and love us, and that intended us to be this beautiful and this human.”—Prentis Hemphill, author of What It Takes to Heal and founder of the Embodiment Institute