Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Great Exchange

New hymnal:
He undertakes a great exchange,
puts on our human frame,
and in return gives us His realm,
His glory, and His name.

Old hymnal:
A wondrous change which He does make!
He takes our flesh and blood,
and He conceals for sinners' sake
His majesty of God.
He serves that I a lord may be;
a great exchange indeed!
Could Jesus' love do more for me
to help me in my need?

Y'know, in Luther, the blessed exchange (or great exchange) is that my sin was imputed to Christ, and His holiness is imputed to me. The great exchange is about the substitutionary atonement.

I realize that Christ's incarnation is a necessary component of the great exchange. If He were not man, the exchange wouldn't "work" because then Man would not die for sin, and we men would not have the holiness of the Man.

But I'm still struggling with this "definition" of the great exchange which makes it be about Jesus' becoming Man so that we could have heaven. I mean, there's nothing really wrong with it, but it leaves out so much that was in the TLH version. Particularly that Jesus became not just man, but was made the sinful man in our place. And if I'm understanding it right, I don't think this LSB/LW definition is really what the phrase means when we read it elsewhere in theology. Those two stanzas from TLH were some of the most solid, year-round proclamation of the Gospel as I puttered about my life for the last decade or so. Somehow I have to find a way to invest all that [blessed] "baggage" into the new wording.

1 comment:

  1. Eww...

    You know, the more that time goes on, the more I become unhappy with LSB. I mean, I know there's good stuff, too. And I know there's bad stuff in TLH. But, and for no legalistic reasons, I really wouldn't mind if I got a TLH congregation and we just stuck with that... at least for a good, long while...