Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

“Death is king, and Vivat Rex!”
—Alfred, Lord Tennyson

He wields the scepter mortals must obey:
The magistrate and thief, the saint and whore,
The millionaire and pauper, wit and bore,
Philosopher and dolt—his royal say
Undoes them all.  His conquered foes give way
Beneath an awful power none ignore:
His throne’s encircled by the growing score
Of stones that keep his triumphs on display. 

And yet, distraught, this monarch still must brood:
Around a cross he’d raised upon a hill
Named Golgotha swirl rumors of defeat:
Bold fishermen, their words too strong to kill,
Spread news of One with wounded hands and feet
Who wears a crown he won upon that rood.

—Bryce Christensen

Dear Reader,

We launched the First Things 2023 Year-End Campaign to keep articles like the one you just read free of charge to everyone.

Measured in dollars and cents, this doesn't make sense. But consider who is able to read First Things: pastors and priests, college students and professors, young professionals and families. Last year, we had more than three million unique readers on

Informing and inspiring these people is why First Things doesn't only think in terms of dollars and cents. And it's why we urgently need your year-end support.

Will you give today?

Make My Gift