The Redemption of Pleasure

The great poet, William Blake once wrote,

‘He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sun rise.’

Mr. Blake wrote this because he knew that each and every one of us is meant to join in a great rising; our hearts destined to become light filled ascending suns. And to aid in this great destiny of ours we receive many joys and blessing. Summer vacations for example, getting away into nature, sharing a delicious meal with loved ones; these pleasures and others nourish and fuel our sun-hearts, buoy our inner-wings, rejuvenate our souls so that we can return to our work and serve others with joy. For this is what is most important – that our pleasures in life serve the aims of the rising Son.

And yet, so often we make pleasure itself the goal, not the rising. So often we are consumed by material life, making consumption our god, forgetting the Son. For as Blake says, he who binds himself, clings to a joy, ‘does the winged life destroy’. Because when our desires for sensual pleasures become our main focus, when we are obsessed or even feel we can’t live without certain thing or person, or when our need for security or a good reputation become the most important thing, then our warmth wanes, our inner suns begin to darken, eclipsed by the perishable world.

Therefore, dear friends, in this summer time of joys, let us make our central aim the winged rise of the sun-heart, which knows that pleasures are meant to renew us with their brief presence, but then must be let go of – never to become our reason for living. For the sun-heart must be free of what binds it in order to rise – free in order help others rise. Only what is risen can be useful for the heavens.

This contemplation by Rev. Evans was inspired by William Blake and the Prodigal Son.