TATDS: The Entrance Rite

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This post is part of a series of posts focused on teaching your children about the Divine Service. For an introduction to this series, please click here.

For The Preparation, click here.

The Entrance Rite

Can you imagine being in the fourth- or fifth-century church? Teaching your children about The Entrance Rite will engage their imaginations as you describe to them what it would have been like to worship in this Early Church setting. Set the stage with this story:

The congregation would have begun to gather well before the Divine Service was set to start. The building more than likely did not have pews like we have today. Most of the men would be standing, older men and women with young children would have been sitting on benches. The cantor would sing psalms, and the congregation would respond with the appointed antiphon. There were no hymnals or bulletins to be seen in these early churches, so the congregation’s response was repetitive. As it was time for the pastors to enter, they would use incense to engage the sense of smell to let the people know to make way for the procession. A cross on top of a pole would be elevated so the crowd could see it, and the pastors would process from the back of the church to the front. Since there may have been several thousand people there, there would have been a lot of clergy present in order to distribute Communion to all of the people, so the procession may have been quite long.

After you tell your children that story, how many different questions are they going to have? Will they be blown away to think of a church without seating? Or maybe they will be in awe that people were able to worship without printed materials? How about worshiping with thousands of people at once? The story alone will give you the ammunition you need to start a wonderful conversation about The Entrance Rite.

The Introit

For the purposes of this post, we are going to focus on the Introit (one of the three options given in the rubrics for each Divine Service).

Let your steadfast love | comfort me*

according to your promise to your | servant.

Your hands have made and | fashioned me;*

give me understanding that I may learn your com- | mandments.

Those who fear you shall see me | and rejoice,*

because I have hoped | in your word.

I know, O Lord, that your just decrees are | righteous,*

and that in faithfulness you have af- | flicted me.

Let your mercy come to me, that | I may live;*

for your law is | my delight.

Glory be to the Father and | to the Son*

and to the Holy | Spirit;

as it was in the be- | ginning,*

is now, and will be forever. | Amen.

Let your steadfast love | comfort me*

according to your promise to your | servant.

Ps. 119:73–75, 77; antiphon: Ps. 119:76


The Introit (Latin for “enter”) is one of the Propers for each Sunday, that is, the parts of the service that are assigned to a specific day of the Church Year. The Introit listed above is from the Proper 21 in Series C of the Three-Year Lectionary. This text is typically chanted responsively by either the pastor or a cantor with the rest of the congregation. The Introit serves to provide context for the themes that are present throughout the rest of the appointed texts for the day. As we prepare to come to the Lord’s Table to receive His precious body and blood, we speak of Him who we are about to receive in Word and Sacrament.

Use the following ideas to help your children understand the Introit:

  • Have them watch for how the pastor turns away from the congregation after he pronounces Absolution and moves toward the chancel.
  • Sing the Gloria Patri (Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit) with them during the week until they have it memorized. Then they can participate in the Introit with you.
  • Consider bowing during the Gloria Patri. This gives your child an action to participate in during the Introit. Explain that God is present with us in worship and we bow out of reverence for Him.

Setting One

In peace let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.

For the peace from above and for our salvation let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.

For the peace of the whole world, for the well-being of the Church of God, and for the unity of all let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.

For this holy house and for all who offer here their worship and praise let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.

Help, save, comfort, and defend us, gracious Lord.



Setting Three

Lord, have mercy upon us.

Christ, have mercy upon us.

Lord, have mercy upon us.

The Kyrie is the first prayer of the Divine Service. We humbly come before God, begging for His mercy. If we look at the Kyrie from Setting One, we see that these petitions to the Lord are done so in peace. Not in anger, or in contempt, but in peace. So what are some ways that we can teach our children about the Kyrie?

  • As we come to the Lord, begging for His mercy, we can draw the connection to our sinful nature. Why should we beg for God’s mercy? Do we need to do this? Answering these questions provides a great segue for pulling out the Small Catechism and going through the Ten Commandments and the Creed to show your child why we need the Lord and who He is.
  • Have you been looking for something to do with your family around your family devotion time? Singing the Kyrie together (from any Setting!) will accomplish two things:
    • It gives you something familiar to add to your devotional time that is rooted in Scripture (Mark 10:47).
    • It helps your prereaders learn these simple words as you sing them together. Watch how quickly they begin to participate in the Divine Service with you as they learn these words.
The Hymn of Praise

Setting One

Glory to God in the highest, and peace to His people on earth.

Lord God, heavenly king, almighty God and Father:

We worship You, we give You thanks, we praise You for Your glory.

Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God:

You take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us.

You are seated at the right hand of the Father; receive our prayer.

For You alone are the Holy One, You alone are the Lord,

You alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit,

in the glory of God the Father.  Amen.


Setting Three

 Glory be to God on high,

and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.

We praise Thee, we bless Thee, we worship Thee.

we glorify Thee, we give thanks to Thee, for Thy great glory.

O Lord God, heav’nly King, God the Father Almighty.

O Lord, the only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ;

O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,

that takest away the sin of the world, have mercy upon us.

Thou that takest away the sin of the world, receive our prayer.

Thou that sittest at the right hand of God the Father, have mercy upon us.

For Thou only art holy; Thou only art the Lord.

Thou only, O Christ, with the Holy Ghost,

art most high in the glory of God the Father.  Amen.

The transition from the Kyrie to the Hymn of Praise (the traditional hymn, the Gloria in Excelsis is listed above from Setting’s One and Three) is one from begging to praise. From solemnity to joy. One in which we praise God for His faithfulness to us and proclaim who He is and what He has done for us. During this hymn, we recall the multitude of the heavenly host saying to the shepherds:

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!” Luke 2:14

Teaching your children about the Hymn of Praise will be such a joy! Consider the following:

  • Describe the transition, from begging to proclaiming joy, to your children. Show them how we praise God for what He has done for us!
  • After your children have heard the Gloria in Excelsis several times in church, pull out The Story Bible and turn to page 283. Read through The Birth of Jesus. As you come to the part where the angels praise God and say, “Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth!” pause and give your child the appropriate amount of wait time to see if they recognize the text. If they don’t respond themselves after a bit of wait time, ask them, “Have you heard these words before? Where have you heard them?”
  • Connect the Gloria in Excelsis to the Creed. Print out the text from the hymn and give it to your child. Have them go through and underline or highlight in the text where they find the three persons of the Trinity.
The Salutation and Collect

The Lord be with you.

And with thy spirit.


Let us pray.

O God, You are the strength of all who trust in You, and without Your aid we can do no good thing.  Grant us the help of Your grace that we may please You in both will and deed; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

In the Salutation, the pastor announces the presence of the Lord to the congregation as we are about to hear the Word of God. The congregation, in turn, responds in the same manner back to the pastor. This exchange shows the loving relationship between a shepherd and his flock. In teaching your child about the Salutation, consider this:

  • When we hear our pastor say these words, “The Lord be with you,” he is telling us that we are about to hear God’s Word, and since God has promised to be with us in His Word, then we know He is here!
  • We also respond to our pastor after he tells us that God is here, to affirm this to him and proclaim it back to him! We want to make sure our pastor knows God is here as well!

As we pray the Collect, we are also taught the central focus of the Gospel reading for the day. It calls our attention to what is being proclaimed in the Scriptures. Encourage your children to listen to this prayer and see if they can find keywords that they hear over and over again. If we look at the example above, here are some key terms we hear over and over again:

  • trust
  • grace
  • deed

Consider looking these words up when you get home from church or during the following week. Use the concordance in the back of The Lutheran Study Bible to find passages about these terms and use them in your devotional time during the week with your family.

So what do you think? What are ways that you talk about and teach your family the elements of The Entrance Rite? We’d love to hear from you. Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

God’s blessings as you teach your children the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3 ESV).

Selections from Divine Service Settings One and Three come from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House. Used by Permission.

Catechism references are from Luther’s Small Catechism with Explanation  © 1986, 1991 Concordia Publishing House. Used by Permission.

To learn more about the Divine Service, pick up a copy of Heaven on Earth: The Gifts of Christ in the Divine Service from Concordia Publishing House.


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About the Author

Joe Willmann


Joe Willmann is the Senior Instructional Designer for Concordia Publishing House in St. Louis, MO. A former teacher and administrator, Joe has a passion for education and learning theory. He earned his Bachelor's Degree from Ball State University and his Master's Degree from Concordia University - Ann Arbor. He lives with his wife, Nicole, his daughter Ava, and his son Carter. You can read his latest posts here.

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