In ancient times the entire congregation entered the church in a solemn procession, singing psalms and songs. Today, after the preparation of the Invocation and Confession & Absolution (having received the Lord’s forgiveness), we enter into the Divine Service with the Introit, or Entrance Hymn. The pastor signifies our entrance into God’s presence by entering the chancel for the first time during the service.
The word, Introit, comes from the Latin word introitus, which means “to go inside.” Each week the Introit is taken from God’s own Word, most often drawn from the Psalms, which set the tone and give the theme for the various Sundays and festivals of the Church year.
With the Introit the Church lives out the words of Psalm 100:
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
3 Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
5 For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
(Scripture passage cited from the English Standard Version.)