All Creatures Small and Fragile

All Creatures Small and Fragile


The Rev. Shannan Hudgins delights in a good poem, pre-dawn walks, and nature’s bounty. She serves as a Chaplain at Baystate Hospice, West Springfield, Massachusetts.

Scripture: Psalm 145:8-14   (NIV)

8 The Lord is gracious and compassionate,
    slow to anger and rich in love.
9 The Lord is good to all;
    he has compassion on all he has made.
10 All your works praise you, Lord;
    your faithful people extol you.
11 They tell of the glory of your kingdom
    and speak of your might,
12 so that all people may know of your mighty acts
    and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
    and your dominion endures through all generations.
The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises
    and faithful in all he does.
14 The Lord upholds all who fall
    and lifts up all who are bowed down.


Reflection: All Creatures Small and Fragile



Lily has turned ten this week. The exact date she arrived in the 5th generation dairy barn down the road from my former home in New Hampshire is anyone’s guess. I do know that she was born the week my youngest child graduated from high school with one of the sons destined to continue the family’s farming heritage. Their commencement ceremony was held in a much-cleaned up pulling barn at the State Fair grounds beside the high school. The twinkling lights, fresh hay, and flowering lilacs masked the faint residue of decades of cow and horse competitions. There were 84 graduates that year. My slender black cat with white feet and white whiskers was gifted to me that August, as my new college freshman decided a totally empty nest might be a hard truth for me. It was, actually.

Just this week Lily introduced a young creature into our small apartment. She had chased a tiny mouse into the living room and was staring at its small frozen form. It was too afraid to move. I grabbed a cloth to scoop it up. The poor thing scampered under the closet door but didn’t move beyond the threshold. I managed to capture it and safely deposit it outside in the garden. Delicate features trembled as I moved it from cloth to earth. The mouse did not run away. When I checked a bit later, the slender creature remained in its place. It was perfectly formed, with features sharply defined ~ tiny nose, red eyes outsized for its slender, triangle-shaped head, perky little ears, delicate feet tucked under its shaking torso.

“The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made” [Ps. 145:9 NIV]. Mice are not a roommate choice: their unfettered presence in a home is havoc for the humans. But I am less willing of late to set deadly traps for visitors dragged in by the cat. Lost at the wrong address and needing safe passage to its natural environment, I was glad to rescue that one baby mouse whose venture from its mother was nearly tragic. It was gone the next morning, without a trace.

“The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down” [Ps. 145:14 NIV]. Most surely I am not the Almighty. Maybe my task was to be that creature’s protector, to savor its aliveness and the wonders of creation it carries. The glories of God’s kingdom live all around us. Meek mice and once-wandering cats bring creation to the doorstep of our temples. We do well to recognize the glorious splendor of the Lord in creatures small and fragile. A quick rescue renewed my hope in God’s abiding presence in all things.


O God of glory and splendor, help us see the treasures of your kingdom in all the creatures in and around our lives. May we offer compassion and sanctuary wherever we are with all that you have given us. Thank you for surprise blessings, and especially the joys of your creation. Amen.

New Prayer Requests:

We ask churches and church leaders to join us in the following prayers either by sharing them during worship, printing them in bulletins, or sharing them in some other way. To make a prayer request, please contact Marlene Gasdia-Cochrane at

Prayers of Intercession:

  • For the people of Ukraine whose lives continue to be shattered by war, as well as the many landscapes that are currently embroiled in conflicts
  • For those grieving or suffering due to the ~21,300 gun violence deaths that happened in the US since the start of the year
  • For the folks who attended a Pride celebration at Enfield’s Congregational United Church of Christ when two men disrupted the ceremony with hate speech, and for all those who suffer from online hate and trolling
  • For the 99 SNEUCC Delegates currently attending the 34th General Synod, as they share their experiences

Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:

This Week in History:

July 4, 1776 (247 years ago): In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Continental Congress adopted  the Declaration of Independence, which proclaims the independence of the United States of America from Great Britain and its king. [History

“Study the past if you would define the future.”

Shannan Hudgins

The Rev. Shannan Hudgins serves as a Chaplain at Baystate Hospice, West Springfield, Massachusetts.

July 03, 2023
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