Wait, aren’t we supposed to be in the wilderness with Jesus? That might be more what you’d expect to find me reflecting on as we begin a Lenten journey, but… the lectionary actually offers us two texts that ask us to consider where our focus is. Yes, there is the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness, the typical text with which to begin our Lenten journeys. But there is also the temptation in the garden of Genesis that is another wilderness journey.
In Jesus’ wilderness, his focus always points back to God. He trusts God will provide, so he doesn’t need the offer of food. He doesn’t feel the need to test God’s care and he doesn’t crave power. Jesus’ temptation and stance is unique – it’s about who Jesus is meant to be. His focus is all on God – what God is calling him to be, what God offers that nothing else can. But our wildernesses usually look a bit more like the wilderness of Genesis and that tree in the center of the garden. But which tree is in the center of that garden? In Genesis 2:9, there are 2 trees – the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
But when we get to the temptation for the humans living in the garden in 3:3, we have a singular tree. What happened to the other one? Oh wait, God asked them not of eat of only one of those trees, the good & evil one. The fruit of the other is fine, the fruit from the tree of life. The focus is only on the one that is forbidden.
So the question comes to mind, what’s in the middle of your garden on this wilderness ramble we’re embarking on? God was in the middle of Jesus’ garden. But where is your focus, what consumes it? That’s what’s in the middle of your garden. Is your focus, the place where you center your garden, where you mean for it to be? Could this be a season to re-center yourself?