The words for meditation today were:

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
– G.K. Chesterton

[It’s a lovely sentiment, but once I checked it out in context, I wasn’t entirely sure I thought I liked it quite as well. It’s from A Short History of England, chapter 6.

I confess that I spent a good part of the service wondering whether this notion of thought was compatible with John Dewey’s idea, more or less, that thinking involves doubt or questioning sustained through investigation aiming at the solution of a problem. But then, checking that out in context as well (in How We Think), it seemed more compatible than I’d realized at first, because Dewey defines “reflective thinking” as

Active, persistent, and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds that support it, and the further conclusions to which it tends …
– John Dewey

… and upon reflection it seems pretty clear that actively, persistently, and carefully considering the highest and best thing it’s possible to think of, and the grounds that support that, and the further conclusions to which that tends, in the highest and best way it’s possible to think of that, would definitely be thanks, after all.]


detail of Van Gogh painting of old bell tower