Entrance Rite (Part 2)
Following the Procession and Preparatory Prayers (both the altar servers’ Prayers at the Foot of the Altar as well as the corporate Collect for Purity) the entrance rite continues with the Introit and the Summary of the Law with the response of the Kyrie.
Having now ascended the altar, the Entrance Rite continues with the Introit. The Introit is a responsive reading that is taken primarily from the Psalms of Ascent and is a final declaration of the mindset with which we desire to have as we proceed into the divine throne room through the liturgy. In some ways, the Introit can be understood as a continuation or conclusion to the Processional Hymn, or Hymn of Ascent, that was sung prior. The actual wording and theme of the Introit changes throughout the year. For example, in penitential seasons (Advent and Lent) it does not include the Gloria Patre, much like the Gloria in Excelcis is omitted during these seasons as well, whereas in Eastertide it is filled with the repetition of the exclamation Alleluia. The theme or focus of the Introit also is often consistent with the theme of the Sunday that is expressed through the Collect of the Day and in the topic of the Propers. In this way, the Introit helps us to focus our attention on the way the particular day’s liturgy reflects upon the theme of redemption history that is reinforced by the Sunday within the liturgical calendar.
Summary of the Law & the Kyrie
Having entered the threshold of the throne room through the Processional hymn and Introit, we are reminded of God's divine moral standard. This standard is expressed either through a recitation of either the Summary of the Law or of the entirety of the Decalogue. Through this recitation we are without excuse to understand the divine standard to which we are to aspire and are reminded that this standard must be met if we are to enter into God’s presence at the foot of His throne.
When faced with this divine standard, though, we must concede that we have all failed to live up to that standard. It is only by the grace and mercy of God, as made possible through the shed blood of Christ, that we can be reckoned as righteous and therefore enter into His presence. If we truly understand our position before God, truly understand His holiness, truly understand our unworthiness, and truly understand the work that Christ has accomplished, then we will naturally turn to Christ himself to grant us entrance into the divine presence. It is with this mindset that we chant the Kyrie: "Lord have mercy upon us; Christ have mercy upon us; Lord have mercy upon us.” In chanting this ancient confession we are declaring that we are not, of our own accord, worthy to be in the presence of God but that we are wholly and completely dependent upon Christ.
(As published in St. Luke's bulletin, 5/13/18)