Far Side of the World

3

May 7, 2015 by Pastor Ben McIntire

So it’s my birthday; 33 trips around the sun for this earth-bound astronaut. (FYI, to all the Parrotheads out there, this post is going to be full of Jimmy Buffett references.) And this morning as I turned the music on before jumping into the shower, what should hit the airwaves first, but Jimmy’s song, Far Side of the World.

Buffett - Far Side of the World

It’s a song about his African adventure for his birthday in 2000. You can hear Jimmy and the Coral Reefers performing this song on YouTube by clicking here. Here are the lyrics as well:

Ramadan is over,
The new moon’s shown her face,
I’m halfway round the planet,
In a most unlikely place.

Following my song line
Past bamboo shacks and shops
Behind a jitney packed like sardines,
With bananas piled on top.

I ran away from politics,
It’s too bizarre at home.
Away I flew, tuned into Blue
“Maybe Amsterdam or Rome”

Awakened by a stewardess,
With Spain somewhere below.
On the threshold of adventure,
God I do love this job so.

So while I make my move
On the big board game
Up and down a Spanish highway,
Some things remain the same.
Girls meet boys
and the boys tease girls
I’m heading out this morning,
For the Far Side of the World.

Oh I believe in song lines
Obvious and not
I’d ridden them like camels
To some most peculiar spots.

They run across the oceans
Through mountains and saloons
And tonight out to the dessert
Where I sit atop this dune.

I was destined for this vantage point
Which is so far from the Sea
I’ve lived it in the pages of Saint-Exupery

From Paris to Tunisia
Casablanca to Dakar
I was riding long before I flew
Through the wind and sand and stars.

Caravan
Ride that hump
And Timbuktu’s a jillion bumps
Sleeping bags and battle flags
Are coiled and furled
That’s the way you travel
To the far side of the world!

A Sunset framed by lightening bolts
Burns a lasting memory
And a string of tiny twinkling lights
adorn the sausage tree.
While the embers from the log fire
Flicker, fly, and twirl
Then drift off toward the cosmos
From the Far Side of the World.
Well it’s Christmas and my birthday
and so to that extent
The Masai not the wise men
Are circling my tent.
I teach them how to play guitar
They show me how to dance
We have rum from the Caribbean
And Burgundy from France.

New Year’s Eve in Zanzibar
With Babu and his boys
High up on the rooftop
You can relish all the noise.

They are dancing on the tables
People bouncing like gazelles
2-0-0-1 is ushered in
With air raid horns and bells.

Time to sing time to dance
Living out my second chance.

Cobras and sleeping bags are coiled and curled
That’s the way it happens
On the Far Side of the World.

Back at home, it’s afternoon
Six thousand miles away.
I will still be there when I get through
Attending this soiree

There are jobs and chores and questions
And plates I need to twirl,
But tonight I’ll take my chances,
On the Far Side of the World.
That’s the way it happens
On the Far Side of the World.

What really struck me as I listened to this song on my own birthday, was the connection to my life this particular year. I was recently offered the rare chance to travel to Tanzania in August; my own African adventure! My synod/diocese/region of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is the Western Iowa Synod and our companion synods are the Southern Diocese of Tanzania and also the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chile. And my congregation, St. Mark Lutheran in Storm Lake, has a companion congregation in Lupembe, Tanzania. This is a wonderful chance to build some relationships with these Christian brothers and sisters on the far side of the world. This summer the Tanzanian Lutheran youth will hold a gathering in Dodoma, but youth are not high school students, as we define them here in America. In Tanzania, youth are people between the ages of 18 and thirty-five. I like this. That means I am still a youth for a couple more years. This is helpful since I still act like one much of the time.

So this summer, dear friends, I’d like to ask for your prayers and encouragement as my wife and I prepare, learn, plan and fundraise for this adventure, following the songlines that the Holy Spirit written on our hearts and lives. Expect plenty more to come later this summer as we travel to the far side of the world!

St. Mark members plant an avocado tree in honor of our partnership Pendaneni relationship which means “love one another.” (Left to right: Pastor Mel and Carole Suhr, Becky McDowell, Pastor Connie Spitzack, Ron Ellefson. 2008)

St. Mark members plant an avocado tree in honor of our partnership Pendaneni relationship which means “love one another.” (Left to right: Pastor Mel and Carole Suhr, Becky McDowell, Pastor Connie Spitzack, Ron Ellefson. 2008)

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3 thoughts on “Far Side of the World

  1. Marie Jo says:

    Thanks Ben,
    Happy Birthday
    I enjoyed the song
    It’s my Birthday today too
    Greetings from the far side of the world -Australia

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Pastor Ben serves at St. Mark Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Storm Lake, Iowa.

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