The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29 (NIV)
On the north bank of the Little Manatee River nestled among tropical palms and spreading live oaks rests a century old Victorian home. Newly painted in a soft shade of yellow, it blends in with its environment so well that you can imagine ladies dressed in their fine gowns taking tea upon its front porch while children in their pinafores and sailor suits play hide and seek in the attic as they await their father’s arrival in a model T Ford. One would never dream that this house has only sat upon this site for twenty months. Its windows once overlooked another river in another town until a plan to build condominiums threatened its existence. Some guardian angels barged the house twenty five miles to its new location and have been painstakingly restoring it. I had the privilege of touring the house this week and was so overcome with emotion at its new grandeur that I surprised the homeowner with my tears of joy. The house is perfect. Perfect in its new location, perfect with its repaired windows, perfect with its new steps and paint, perfect with its tin ceilings and wooden paneling. Perfect was all I could say as I went from floor to floor, from the new basement to the turret in the attic and out on all the porches with their gorgeous views. Before its move, the house was a congregate living facility for mentally handicapped adults. Its porches were enclosed; its windows replaced with jalousies and ugly modern bathrooms filled its nooks and crannies. All of that is gone now and once again, it is a splendid place fitting for its first builder, Julius Lamb, son of the founder of the City of Palmetto. Carpenters and craftsmen labored hard and long to bring it back to its former glory. All of them have commented on the stability of its construction and the soundness of its original wooden beams and walls. They even reused flooring from the attic to replace what termites destroyed downstairs. There are some areas not yet completed and places where there was no choice but to modernize. I did not see any of that. I only saw the house as my mind’s eye had imagined it could be and now was. The house is perfect in every detail, but one. On the sweeping stairway, the homeowner pointed out the termite damaged trim around the newel post. They left the gnawed wood as a reminder of what the house once was and of the sacrifice and love it took to get to this place. The house is newly christened Lamb Manor both for its first owner and for Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, who its current owners serve. In its new venue, the house will be a retreat facility. Its purpose is fitting as this restored home is a symbol of how all of us can be perfect and clean when Jesus uses His blood to wash us of our sins and make us whole again.