Three times he left the sleeping three,
three times he stumbled to the ground,
three times he prayed for respite
but none found.
Three trials were made upon his life,
three judges sat upon his case,
three verdicts; justice vanquished
Three hours of darkness lay upon the earth,
three hours he hung and suffered on that tree,
three hours Godhead self-estrangement knew
This song was printed in Symphony 1992 vol. 1. under the title ‘Symmetry’ and without the ‘but’ in the fourth line. I have a tune in my head to fit the words but I’ve never quite managed to garner the score-writing skills to get it down on paper. Any tune has to cope with the extra beats in the last verse.
I do know that the crucifixion took longer than three hours but the hours of darkness were specifically three hours and I believe that to be significant both for the nature of Christ’s suffering at that time and the work of the reconciliation.