This often happens at funerals and weddings and other emotionally difficult times, with people who have limited connections with the church and who are unlikely to understand why churches prefer to use music that was written for worship..
In these situations, playing an instrumental version is one option. However it is often not popular because the original lyrics are still predominant in the minds of most people who hear the tune
Another option is to use a "baptised" version: ie the original tune, but:
- With religious words set it, and
- Played in a style which respects both the venue and the pastoral situation.
Below is a list of some secular tunes, and similar or equivalent hymns. Currently the list focussed on Irish / Celtic / Gaelic tunes, but others will be added over time.
This is most definitely not a list of parody-hymns - each set of lyrics is intended to be used as a regular hymn. However they should be used with some caution, in case the secular association of the tune outweigh the religious message in the words.
Popular song tunes and folk-tunes with religious words set to them
|Danny Boy / Londonderry Aire||I Cannot Tell (copyright free) |
Go Silent Friend (Bell - for funerals)
|Down by the Sally Gardens||Inspired by Love and Anger|
|House of the Rising Sun||Amazing Grace -the words can be sung to this tune, and have been done this way by some contemporary Christian musicians.|
|I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing||In Christ there is no East or West|
|Isle of Innisfree||Teach me Dear Lord (Dick Farrelly)|
|Mor Ghile Mear||Faithful is the Lord our King|
|Scarborough Fair||Sing of a Girl|
|Star of the County Down||I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say |
Canticle of the Turning (Cooney)
|Wild Mountain Thyme / Will you Go Lassie, Go||My Soul is Filled with Joy / Holy is His Name|
|Ye banks and braes||We Cannot Measure How you Heal|
Suggestions about more such hymns are welcome, and can be left in the comment box below.